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."

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Robin van Persie scores the third for Manchester United with a perfectly-guided header
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all