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What are 2012 job opportunities in Hackney?

Dalston Mural in Hackney
Dalston Mural in Hackney

By Katy Palmer

As London 2012 promises opportunities for Hackney's people, how can we ensure that the borough's low paid communities access these opportunities?

The majority of Hackney's people are multi-cultural residents of areas where close- knit communities still exist. Residents will receive low or modest incomes and there is likely to be a significant dependency on state benefits.

Unemployment is a significant issue. With fewer highly skilled jobs available on the London 2012 site than was hoped, what can this majority expect in the way of volunteering and training opportunities?

Andrew McPhee - Hackney Council's 2012 unit

Andrew McPhee - Business, Employment and Training Officer at Hackney Council's 2012 unit
Andrew McPhee

"There's no question, there are less highly skilled jobs than was hoped. We sold the idea of more jobs for local people, and that hasn't been the case, the work was far more specialist than we knew.

Like the Olympic stadium roof for example, we thought it would create hundreds of local construction jobs but in the end a team of 25 Germans did the whole thing.

The good news is that now that the park is built there are general labour jobs available, such as waste management and cleaning and catering companies through companies like Sodexo. Employers prefer to go with local people, it's cheaper.

Local jobs

Most contractors have specified that they will use at least 50 percent local labour, and this is often a selling point in their tenders.

For those with a registered Hackney address these jobs are available. We sent text messages to over a thousand people on benefits who were on estates through our Ways into Work scheme to advertise a jobs fair and the attendance was high.

ARAMARK are already working with the local job centre and Inspire to ensure the roles reach the locals that need them most. Local jobs brokerage On Site is also a good starting point for these jobs."

Laurie Heselden - Research and campaigns officer at the TUC

 Laurie Heselden - Research and campaigns officer at the TUC
Laurie Heselden

Despite the disappointing lack of new employment opportunities, 2012 training and employment access schemes are not a sham or a fig leaf. The public sector has invested time, effort and money in employability and skills programmes and in job brokerage.

The "ASK Coach" Roadshows were designed to increase the number of Londoners getting jobs or volunteering roles linked the 2012 Games.

London 2012 will transform the employment prospects of some of Hackney's poorest residents. But 2012's employer led job creation schemes will be less fruitful than was hoped, and the Government cuts will destroy the job prospects of many more Hackney residents.

2012 will be a success, but it could have been so much better.

However, there will be 70,000 volunteer opportunities, working perhaps a hundred hours each.

For some, it will be an adventure, for others it will be a vital addition to their CV and a step towards a permanent job or a new career."

Bisi Ojuri - Chief Executive Volunteer Centre Hackney

Bisi Ojuri - Chief Executive Volunteer Centre Hackney
Bisi Ojuri

"London Ambassadors is a great way for people who are passionate about London to get involved in the Olympics. Like the LOCOG volunteering programme you need to register online now if you are interested in helping at the Games.

If you don't have internet access the Volunteer centre can help you get online. And we can help Hackney residents get some volunteering experience now, which will help you get selected to be a Games Maker or London Ambassador."

Morrison Izebhokae hoping to volunteer in the 2012 Olympics
Morrison Izebhokae - London 2012 volunteer hopeful
Morrison Izebhokae

"After being made redundant as a caretaker on an estate I registered at the volunteer centre Hackney. I thought volunteering was better than staying at home doing nothing.

I hope to volunteer in the local community, if I can see something that I'd like to do I'd like to help. Eventually I'd like to volunteer at the Olympics maybe as a traffic marshal."

Ibrahim Avcil - Hackney Refugee Forum co-ordinator

Ibrahim Avcil and Sami Ahmed from On Site
Ibrahim Avcil (left) and Sami Ahmed from Onsite

"'Low pay communities often includes refugees and migrants, and this year the Olympic and Paralympic Games Unit, Onsite (the local jobs brokerage) and the Hackney Refugee forum, introduced an ongoing series of information sessions which focus on jobs and training for 2012, set up especially for Hackney's refugee community.

The sessions provide clear, simple and realistic information, letting people know how they can find work and training on the Olympic Park, and elsewhere in Hackney and London.

Refugees are traditionally the hardest to reach communities, often making least use of the services and the opportunities that are available.

However, the Olympics is an opportunity for local people to access training programmes that will lead to sustainable employment."

Katy's article was created as User Generated Content for BBC London.

If you've produced your own London 2012 related content or are keen to develop an idea please contact dekan.apajee@bbc.co.uk

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