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Vocational Training: Sunderland

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to ensure that residents from the city of Sunderland will have the necessary skills to take advantage of jobs resulting from the Olympics in 2012. (175224)

I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has a joint responsibility with the Department for Work and Pensions to maximise the employment and skills benefits for the UK arising from Games-related business. In the main, this will be achieved using existing initiatives such as Train to Gain, as we help employers in meeting their skill needs to design, build and deliver the Games, and encourage individuals to develop their skills so that they can compete for opportunities and progress within the labour market beyond 2012. To do this, we have initiated a programme of activities which are nation or UK-wide, rather than related to specific cities or regions. On the employer side, two cluster groups of sector skills councils are leading two areas: one to look specifically at the issues relating to the built environment and environmental improvements for the Games; and the other is looking at the staging and legacy aspects of the Games. Other specific employer-led initiatives include a programme of media training placements being developed by Skillset; the national skills strategy for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism in England developed by People 1st; and the National Skills Academy for Construction centre on the Olympic site which the Prime Minister announced on 29 November. For individuals, initiatives include new advanced apprenticeships in sporting excellence; customer service and hospitality apprenticeships; and the LDA-led Personal Best Programme which is currently being piloted in London but will be offered nationally and is targeted at individuals furthest away from the labour market to improve skills and promote employability.

Within the Sunderland area itself initiatives include promoting business opportunities to Sunderland companies; engaging in discussions regarding the Cultural Olympiad; Sunderland venues registering as possible venues for pre-Games training camps; and Sunderland university has been involved in discussions concerning the north-east's regional cultural volunteering programme. The north-east's plans for the Games also include the development of a sport-related work force and making the most of the opportunities available for the key nine sectors in the regional economic strategy.