London mayor Ken Livingstone claims 2012 Olympic Games will benefit the careers of 20,000 Londoners

Staging the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will directly benefit the careers of as many as 20,000 Londoners, according to Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Livingstone announced the launch of ‘Personal Best’, a programme that is set to target disadvantaged communities to develop a range of new skills.

The initiative was previously called the Pre-Volunteer Programme. It has been trialled in 11 London boroughs this year with 370 participants, 15% of whom have already moved into jobs. More than four in 10 have taken up further training and one-third have opted for volunteering opportunities.

The new programme will be run by the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). It will roll out across London from April 2008, and offered nationally later in the year.

Livingstone said: “I have always believed that the success of the 2012 Games would be measured in the legacy and benefits we deliver for the whole of London.

“Many graduates have already moved into jobs and many more are being inspired to seek additional training. Personal Best will not only benefit those who sign up but also act as a catalyst for raising skills levels across the capital.”

Tessa Jowell, Olympics minister, said: “Personal Best is a win-win idea, and one that is already achieving results. Participants learn new skills to not only increase their chances of finding jobs and training opportunities, but also their self-confidence.

“In 2012, we have an incredible opportunity to inspire people to try something new – whether that is volunteering, trying a new sport or taking part in a cultural activity,” Jowell concluded.

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