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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 22:26 GMT
Olympic Games volunteers graduate
Hundreds of volunteers who are among the first group of people to undergo training for the Olympic Games have graduated at a ceremony in London.

The 370 individuals had taken part in Personal Best, which offers some of the city's most disadvantaged people the opportunity to develop new skills.

The scheme was introduced in 11 London boroughs earlier this year.

The volunteers were congratulated on Monday by the London mayor and Olympic boss Sebastian Coe in Wembley Stadium.

'Transformational power'

Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "I have always believed that the success of the 2012 Games would be measured in the legacy and benefits we deliver for the whole of London.

"Today we can see how that legacy is already making a real difference to the lives of those who have participated in the programme, who wouldn't have normally taken up such training if it wasn't for the association with the Games."

So far, 15% of those who took up the programme have moved into jobs, 42% have taken up further training and 33% have opted for volunteering opportunities.

Closer to the 2012 Olympic Games, graduates will also be offered an interview to become a volunteer at the London 2012 Games.

Mr Coe said: "London 2012 has always been about much more than sport.

"We want to use the transformational power of the Games to be a catalyst for good, and the Personal Best programme is a tangible example of how the Games can change lives now, four and a half years out from the summer of 2012."

The scheme, which was run by the London Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council, was formerly known as the Pre-Volunteer Programme.



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