Olympics customer services scheme aims to train 200,000

A campaign to train 200,000 hospitality and tourism staff and tackle poor customer service ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games was launched today.

Twickenham Stadium and the London Eye are among the sport and leisure venues which have already signed up as the hospitality, leisure, tourism and travel (HLTT) industries aims to raise service standards, according to organisers People 1st.



Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, the skills council for HLTT industries, said: "There is a lot of focus on developing the infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games but not enough on ensuring we have the softer skills needed to welcome the world to Britain.



"It's anticipated that up to half a million visitors will arrive for the Games and we need to ensure their experience of Britain is a very positive one."



Almost two million people are employed in the HLTT sector, the central London launch was told.



The 200,000 target for the WorldHost training programme hopes to raise standards of customer service, both in training and in practice.



Tourism chiefs estimate that £2 billion could be generated from visitors around the Olympics.



The aim is to get the industry in shape as Britain is set to host a range of world events including London 2012, the 2014 Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games plus the 2015 Rugby World Cup.



The WorldHost customer service training scheme includes learning modules on serving customers with disabilities, service across cultures and an ambassador workshop, particularly aimed at volunteers helping visitors to Britain.



A similar scheme was set up for this year's Vancouver Winter Olympics where it was used to train 39,000 volunteers and tourism staff.



The Institute of Directors and McDonald's say they will include it in their employee development programmes.



Flybe is also supporting the programme which has been developed by People 1st and the VisitEngland tourism agency.



The London Eye, Warwick Castle, Twickenham Stadium, Epsom Downs racecourse, the Ricoh Arena, Royal Ascot and the British Open will all be using the WorldHost customer service training for their teams, People 1st said.



They have also agreed to work with four other sector skills councils on the project.



This is to cover industries in the retail, sport and fitness, passenger transport and creative and cultural skills sectors.



Mr Wisdom said: "We plan to do something about what everyone recognises is a real need. The HLTT sector is one of the UK's largest employers and the visitor economy contributes over 8% of GDP. If we reach our target of 200,000 it will make a real difference to the experience people have as well as the revenue generated."



Miles Templeman, the director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "Hosting these major sporting events over the next five years provides a supreme business opportunity to show the world what a great country we are.



"To make sure Britain is at its best, the standard of our customer service needs attention. It is imperative for businesses to invest in the people who will be on the front line, hosting our visitors and acting as ambassadors for the rest of the country."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace