Olympic Park must provide employment for locals after 2012 Games

Robust targets must be set for employing people at the Olympic Park after the 2012 Games, the London Assembly has argued.

Construction of the park and venues is currently being managed by the Olympic Delivery Authority, but targets for employing local people are low, the economic development, culture, sport and tourism committee warned.

The Games will deliver a new urban park, state-of-the-art sports facilities, thousands of new homes, and transport improvements.

However, the Legacy Limited report expresses concern that much of it may not benefit local people. It called on the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) – the organisation that will take over ownership of the Stratford site after the Games – to learn lessons from the ODA.

Namely, the OPLC should set out the steps it will take to ensure employers at the park provide employment for local residents, previously unemployed people and apprentices once the Olympics finish. However, the report did not identify specific roles.

The site is set to be completed by 2011. At present, targets exist regarding the employment of local workers, previously unemployed people and those in training posts on the site.

These include that a minimum of 15% of the workforce must be resident in the five host boroughs, a minimum of 7% of the workforce must have been unemployed prior to their employment on the site, and at least 2,250 people must have entered traineeships, apprenticeships and work placements on the site by 2010.

However, the report warns that although contractors are meeting these targets, they are low and the impact for people in east London has been small. “In December 2009, only 4% of the 6,300 Olympic Park workforce were previously unemployed residents of the five host boroughs,” the report said. “Furthermore, there were only 150 apprentices working on the site.”

The report recommended targets for the employment of local workers and trainees should be “much more ambitious than those currently in place for the construction of the Olympic Park”.

“Specifically, the Olympic Park Legacy Company should set more ambitious targets for the proportion of previously unemployed local residents to be employed on the park and for the proportion of local people to be offered apprenticeships on the park,” it said.

Committee chair Dee Doocey said: “A strong legacy of skills, housing, employment and sports participation is the only way to stop the Olympic Park becoming an island of prosperity, cut off from the surrounding community.

“East London deserves a lasting legacy from the Games, and I hope the Mayor and the OPLC act on these recommendations.”

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