Minister invites business to share in Olympic vision

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell will invite employers to get involved in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in a summit on 24 January.

Jowell has pledged to provide “hard facts” on what skills are required, how to win contracts and prospective sponsorship opportunities at the conference, which will be held at Canary Wharf, two miles from the Olympic Park site.

“I want companies to be champing at the bit for the chance to share in the 2012 experience. But they need to understand the big picture now and how they can get involved – and that’s where this summit comes in,” Jowell said.

Speakers will include CBI director-general Sir Digby Jones, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber and mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

“The whole of industry needs to start gearing up for 2012 immediately,” Barber said.

Breakout sessions will also be organised to focus on skills, procurement, construction and maximising the economic benefits of the games to the whole of the UK.

Jowell said: “The [Olympic] games are a unique opportunity for business and workers to benefit in a host of different ways. There are great opportunities here to win lucrative and rewarding contracts. All the UK can – and must – benefit.”

But she stressed that the conference talks will be reciprocal. “We want to learn from business and the unions too, putting their expertise to good use in the years ahead – so this will be a two-way conversation.”

Around 300 company representatives from UK businesses, trade associations and unions, in addition to key figures from central and local government, are expected to attend the summit.

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