Skills shortages in police and taxi services will affect London Olympics

London will be severely short of taxi drivers and police community support officers (PCSO) during the 2012 Olympic Games unless it sorts out its skills system now, an insider has claimed.

Teresa Scott, chief executive of training provider Kennedy Scott, said the Games presented a far more pressing target for sorting out the UK’s skills system than the 2020-focused Leitch Review.

Kennedy Scott has received funding from the government to help people – especially those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds – apply for taxi driver and PCSO jobs.

But Scott said there were still massive shortages that would present huge problems for the capital during the 2012 Olympics unless the training system was improved.

“There are 2,500 PCSO jobs becoming available in London this year as it gears up for the Olympics,” she said. “This will continue to increase up to 2012.

“Police from across London will be pulled off the beat to support the Olympics, so we need PCSOs to be trained and ready to replace them.”

The Metropolitan Police has failed to attract black and ethnic minority applicants in the necessary volumes, Scott added.

This lack of diversity is also apparent in the employment of taxi drivers, she said.

“We are missing out on these people,” said Scott. “The jobs are there and are not being filled.”

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