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Olympic bid troubled by skills deficit

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A survey by People 1st, the Sector Skills Council representing the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector suggests that 60% of industry believe more skilled workers are needed if the UK is to host the 2012 Olympic games.

Many businesses back the bid; 73% of those surveyed believe it would boost tourism and 53% say it is a direct opportunity for their own businesses.

But skills are still in short supply. Seventy-three per cent want the government to ensure employers know what training courses and qualifications are available, more than 70% say they want the training and qualifications system to be easier to understand while 60% believe more skilled workers are needed.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive officer of People 1st said: “With seven years between now and 2012, the UK certainly has the capability but we really need to look at the skills issue now if we are to succeed. The sector is predicted to grow with or without the games. Industry is telling us that they want to push the sector into the fast lane and make the most of opportunities like the Olympics, so that the UK realises its full potential.”

Wisdom said that businesses have a responsibility to invest in training but that government and training bodies also need to ensure qualifications and training are matched to employers’ needs.

Talking to HRZone Gareth Osborne, Managing Director of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said: “To stage the Olympics would require many temporary/contract staff with a variety of different skills, as this is a worldwide exhibition organisers will want to make sure that they use the very best agencies and so we suspect it will be a very busy time for our members.”

Inspectors from the International Olympic Committee arrived yesterday to evaluate the capital’s £25 million campaign. A gaff by Mayor Ken Livingston over an allegedly anti-Semitic remark is reported to be overshadowing the Olympic inspection.

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