The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has kick started National Apprenticeship Week by visiting the army of apprentices that are helping to secure the capital’s Olympic legacy at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
More than 150 apprenticeships have been delivered to date at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with 61 apprentices working on the Park for a variety of employers this year alone.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “It is fantastic to see the role that apprentices have played in securing the future of this glorious park. We all remember the enthusiasm and buzz surrounding the 2012 Games, and that is the same enthusiasm you get from talking to apprentices here today.
“I would urge any businesses yet to take on an apprentice to do so. There is a rich talent pool of young Londoners available to you who can help your business grow.”
The Mayor met a range of apprentices currently working in construction, landscaping, leisure, hospitality, engineering and media at the Park.
He also spent time with some BT Sport apprentices who are learning post-production skills such as editing in the production suite in Europe’s largest LED lit studio, where he tried his hand as a floor manager under their tutelage.
New apprenticeships are being offered with businesses now resident on the Park, including eight apprentices in creative and digital media who will spend two years with BT Sport at Here East.
David Goldstone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “The apprentices are one of the key cornerstones of our workforce, laying the bricks for our new neighbourhoods, encouraging budding sportspeople in our venues and maintaining the 560 acres of beautiful parklands that have already been enjoyed by millions of visitors.
“They have helped to secure the future of the Park and, by undertaking an apprenticeship, we hope they have secured their futures too.”
Apprentices on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park largely consist of local residents, particularly young people and those who face significant barriers to entering or returning to the labour market, who have had the opportunity to learn skills in a range of roles.
Previous winner of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Apprentice of the Year Award, Leanne Doig, said: “I’ve wanted to work in construction ever since I was little, just like my dad, and he’s really proud that I’ve had the chance to work on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“My apprenticeship is just the start of my career. I want to run my own business one day and hire lots of women, because we need more women in construction.”
With housing forming a major part of the Olympic legacy, construction apprenticeships have been vital. So far 130 construction apprentices have worked on the Park so far and many more will build the five new neighbourhoods, delivering 6,800 new homes by 2035.
The Mayor has consistently championed the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses during his mayoralty. Over the last year, he has doubled employer apprenticeship grants to enable more small and medium sized businesses take on apprentices as well as funded a network of apprentice ambassadors to help promote the opportunities in schools.
The wider GLA family are also creating apprenticeships in support of the Mayor’s target. Since April 2009, Transport for London and its supply chain have created over 6,000 apprenticeship roles. Crossrail and its contractors also pledged to offer 400 apprenticeship roles over the lifetime of the major construction project and they have reached this target with two years to go.
As well as encouraging businesses to open their doors to apprentices, the Mayor is calling on the capital’s business leaders to support career guidance for young Londoners, to make sure they’re equipped with the knowledge they need to enter the workplace.
The new London Ambitions Portal has been set up for businesses to engage with pupils and showcase the work they do and the types of careers on offer to over 100 pilot schools across the capital, with more coming on board next month.