£227,000 catering training boost announced by London mayor to prepare for 2012 Olympic Games

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has launched a £227,000 Opportunity Fund project called Skills for Food.

The scheme will provide catering and hospitality courses in west London to meet the increasing demand for staff in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It follows the launch of a skills strategy by London’s mayor to ensure poor service does not ruin the games for millions of visitors.

Skills for Food is one of 27 Opportunity Fund projects on employment,training and skills across London geared towards the Olympics. Each will receive £11m in funding for skills training, work placements and employment advice led by organisations including the Peabody Trust, City Gateway, Princes Trust, Centrepoint and Sports Coaches UK.

More than 14,000 Londoners and 1,500 businesses will benefit from Olympics projects, reaching residents in all 33 London boroughs.

About one-third of the total Olympics budget is allocated for labour costs. This would mean about £3bn of the overall £9.3bn budget is affected by demands for direct employment.

Livingstone said: “Thanks to a £227,000 grant, Skills for Food will provide catering and hospitality training courses for residents in Hillingdon, Brent, Hammersmith, Hounslow and Ealing. This will give them the skills and experience they need to get a job in the restaurant, hotel and catering trade and help to meet the growing demand as a result of the London 2012 Games.

“Londoners in every borough will benefit from Opportunity Fund projects, from Hillingdon to Havering to Hammersmith and the projects will train the new sports coaches, cooks and builders who are needed to ensure London 2012 is a success.”

Sarah Ebanja, deputy chief executive at the London Development Agency, said: “The 2012 Games is a major catalyst to increasing training and employment in London, which is why we are investing in projects like Skills for Food. It is our priority to ensure Londoners get the most out of Olympic opportunities, and these projects will compliment the extensive work across London in making this happen.”

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