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LOCOG appoints customer service training provider for London 2012 Olympic Games

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LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) has appointed People 1st to develop its customer service training programme for London 2012.

People1st's WorldHost training will be offered to tens of thousands of employees and contractors' staff who will be working at the Olympic and Paralympic venues.

People 1st has also been awarded LOCOG's Inspire mark for its Employment 1st programme, a pre-employment training package for individuals considering a career within hospitality.

Employment 1st will be used to train up to 2,000 people living locally to the main Olympic park in London to help them secure jobs at the 2012 Games, and to further their opportunities for a career within the hospitality and tourism sector. This is a key part of LOCOG's legacy programme to ensure that local communities benefit in the long-term from the economic opportunities from hosting the Games.

Rob Clarke, head of reward & policy at LOCOG, said: "We are delighted to be working with People 1st to develop WorldHost customer service training to support the delivery of a great Games in 2012.

"The award of our Inspire mark reflects the significant contribution that we think this programme can make to the successful staging of the Games next year and also the legacy benefits for skills and employment."

WorldHost has already been used at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where it trained 39,000 volunteers and tourism staff last year, and has been developed for the UK by People 1st, with the support of VisitEngland. Research last month from YouGov showed that 73% of the general public agrees that Britain needs to improve customer service ahead of the Olympics and just 14% think British hospitality, and how we welcome guests, is the aspect that will most ensure we are a good host to international visitors during London 2012.

This is reflected in research undertaken by People 1st. Nearly 40% of London hospitality and tourism businesses are concerned about their ability to match customer expectations during the Olympics, while 65% have identified customer service as their top training need over the next 12 months.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, added: "We are also campaigning to train 200,000 front-line staff ahead of the Olympics throughout the wider visitor economy, so that we can effect a cultural change in the perception of the warmth of the UK welcome, which currently lags far behind other countries. It's essential we improve on this if we are to reap the long-term benefits of a successful Games. "