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Personal Best for every London borough


Disadvantaged Londoners are being offered a stepping stone into work as a groundbreaking training programme linked to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is rolled out.

’Personal Best’ will help around 7,000 people to gain their first qualification through borough based classes and individual support. They will also build self esteem through work experience and gain transferable jobs skills through a nationally recognised qualification in volunteering.

Personal Best participants photo Run by the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Personal Best uses the appeal of the London 2012 Games to reach out to communities. Closer to the time, graduates will be guaranteed an interview as part of the application process to become a 2012 Games Time Volunteer, with up to 10% of volunteers coming from the Personal Best Programme.

So far, Personal Best has been trialed in 11 boroughs with 875 Londoners taking part. The majority finished the programmed in the autumn this year. So far 14.5% have already moved onto either full or part time employment and 23.5% into further learning. Today, their achievements are being celebrated alongside Olympians and Paralympians at a ceremony in Wembley Stadium.

Over the next six months the programme will be rolled out to every London borough starting with Havering, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Camden, Hackney, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Brent.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "It is great to see the 2012 Games already having such a positive impact on the lives of so many Londoners. I congratulate all those who have worked so hard to graduate through Personal Best and I am pleased that Londoners from every borough will now be able to benefit from this important programme.

“It is really encouraging that, on top of those who have found work as a result, many other graduates have decided to continue developing their skills by embarking on further training or volunteering at important major events across the capital. It would be and added bonus to see many of those faces who graduate in the coming years helping out as volunteers at the London Games.”

Tom Russell, Group Director for Olympic Legacy at the LDA, said: "Personal Best can be a truly life changing experience. We have already seen people turn their fortunes round through the pilot. They have built up a new confidence and achieved that first job or qualification through the programme. Now it is the turn for every London borough to benefit.

“The LDA is helping Londoners of all backgrounds to benefit from the opportunities linked to the 2012 Olympic and Paraylmpic Games. Through Personal Best we expect thousands to be leading successful careers before 2012 contributing to a successful London for decades to come. We want to deliver an Olympic legacy now.”

Mary Conneely, the Learning and Skills Council’s Regional Director for Regeneration in London said: "Personal Best has been developed to support the Olympic and Paralympic Games and ensure we leave a real and lasting legacy. It is hugely important, not just for the Games, but for each individual to gain vital skills and qualifications to set them up for life. Participants beginning their journey with Personal Best have a fantastic opportunity to achieve their personal goals and maximise their potential.

“Already, many participants have gone on to permanent jobs or more volunteering and I would like to congratulate them all on their achievements.”

Personal Best also offers work experience which mimics some of the volunteering skills required for the 2012 Games. Opportunities have included stewarding at the Bromley Half Marathon (photos available), the Torch Relay, the Boat Race and other sporting and entertainment events.
Participants have also worked at Wembley Stadium events including the recent Madonna concert.

Wembley helped design the Personal Best programme using their experience in event and matchday stewarding. They also worked with Brent and Waltham Forest councils to deliver training opportunities, while some Personal Best graduates have gone on to work at the Stadium.

Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee said:“We want the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to inspire change and encourage people to fulfil their potential. Personal Best is delivering ways for Londoners to do this right now with just over three and half years until the events themselves. As the 2008 Beijing Games this summer proved, volunteers make the difference between a good Games and great Games for athletes and spectators alike. Personal Best provides relevant skills training to ensure as many Londoners as possible have an opportunity to be part this once in-a-lifetime experience.”

Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics, said: "Our ambition for the Games is much more than just about hosting a summer of sport in 2012. It is about the chance to change lives for the better. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Personal Best programme, which is already having an impact.

"This initiative is helping develop skills and instil confidence that will provide individuals and whole communities with benefits for decades to come.

“I congratulate all those who have graduated from the scheme and look forward to it being rolled out to the whole of London. It will then be introduced across the country, starting in the North-East and South-East early in 2009 – further proof of our commitment to a UK-wide legacy from London 2012.”


• Any member of the public interested in Personal Best should email or call the LDA on 0207 593 9000.

Notes to Editors:

1. Personal Best is being funded by the LDA and the LSC. It is being supported by the London 2012 Organising Committee, the Department for Media, Culture and Sport, JobCentre Plus, Greater London Volunteering and London boroughs.
2. The LDA and LSC have developed the programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games based on the programme’s success at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. It will engage 20,000 people in total.
3. The 11 boroughs chosen to pilot the project include the five East London host boroughs - Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Greenwich and Tower Hamlets - as well as Brent, Westminster, Southwark, Lambeth, Haringey and Croydon.
4. The Personal Best training includes Volunteering and the Olympics, becoming a volunteer, equality and diversity, customer relations, emergencies and basic fire awareness, public safety, conflict resolution in a public setting, developing team and interpersonal skills.
5. Attending the ceremony to congratulate the participants are: Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Sebastian Coe Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, Tom Russell LDA Group Director for Olympic Legacy, Mary Conneely Regional Director Regeneration of the Learning and Skills Council, along with Paralympian basket ball player Ade Adepitan, Olympic triple jumper Jonathan Edwards, and British long jumper Jade Johnson.
6. The London Development Agency aims to improve the quality of life for all Londoners - working to create jobs, develop skills and promote economic growth.
7. The Learning and Skills Council exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. We are responsible for ensuring the availability of high-quality education and training for everyone. We have a single goal: to improve the skills of England’s young people and adults to world class standards. Our vision is that young people and adults in England have knowledge and skills matching the best in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce. We work nationally, regionally and locally to deliver this ambition on behalf of learners and employers.


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