Youngsters march on BT Sport for 'a slice' of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park jobs windfall
PUBLISHED: 13:10 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 24 June 2019
Youngsters have marched on BT Sport's head office to demand it "share a slice" of 40,000 jobs expected in the area after the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Protesters cut a cake with the number iced on it outside the television channel's base at the Here East business hub urging bosses to offer paid work experience to help get job seekers on the career ladder.
Organiser Joy Faulkner-Mpeho said: "We want the opportunities available here to be available to people from Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest."
The park's guardians, the London Legacy Development Corporation, predicts 40,000 jobs will be created on and around the Stratford venue by 2025.
The marchers wanted to hand their cake to Simon Littler, head of studios and post production at BT sport, but were told by guards they would have to enter a penned area for "security reasons".
From behind a metal barrier feet away from BT Sport's HQ, the crowd heard speeches from youngsters dreaming of working for firms at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the media giant.
There were cheers when the march organisers were handed a letter signed by BT Sport head, Simon Green, which said the media giant was "very open to meeting".
Since 2015 BT Sport has run two apprenticeship programmes with the majority of participants from boroughs neighbouring the park.
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It has also seen 18 pupils do 12-week projects, held four day-long bootcamps for 100 pupils at risk of leaving school without a job, training or college place and plans to run training experiences for Newham College and NewVic Sixth Form College students.
Alistair Rooms, an organiser at the community group, Newham Citizens TELCO, said: "We are really looking forward to working together.
"BT Sport are an exciting young company doing good stuff already but we think they can do more."
Ty Brooks, a 17-year-old media student at East London Advanced Technology Training (ELATT), said: "I feel hopeful about the future now."
A BT Sport spokesman said: "BT Sport has been extremely active in supporting the community and welcoming young people into the studio to learn more about the industry and career opportunities."
Over marchers' criticism not enough was being done at the park for neighbouring communities, Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East, said: "Here East is totally committed to delivering against the Olympic legacy and creating jobs and opportunities across Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Lea Valley and east London.
"We have grown a community of nearly 4,000 people at our campus, including students, academics, entrepreneurs and world-class industry leaders.
"At the same time we are in constant dialogue with local organisations, schools and councils to ensure Here East and our tenants are connecting with young people from the area."
Paul Brickell, executive director of regeneration and community partnerships, said that following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games there is a growing legacy of high quality jobs in the area.
"We work very closely with Here East, their tenants, and other businesses around the park to ensure east Londoners have the skills, and are at the front of the queue, for these jobs," he added.