Minister gets learning lowdown

A GOVERNMENT minister met some inspiring people during a visit to an Olympic learning centre.

John Hayes, the minister for further education, skills and lifelong learning presented certificates of achievement to people who have used the Community and Trade Union Learning Centre in Pudding Mill Lane, off Marshgate Lane, Stratford.

Among them were David Brown, who works at Stratford Fire Station, Neville D’Souza who has been offered a part-time job as an exam invigilator at a secondary school, and Khadije Kassem who goes to Maryland Sure Start. They received Inspire Awards in recognition of their achievements.

Neville, 69, moved to east London two years ago and began learning English as a second language at the Hartley Centre, East Ham where he also took an Indian cooking course. It was while he was doing outreach work at Rokeby School, in Stratford, that he was introduced to the Community and Trade Union Learning Centre in Marshgate Lane.

The minister also met Frances O’Grady, the deputy general secretary of the TUC and Jean Tomlin, the HR director at LOCOG. The centre is open for workers on the site, union members and the local community. There are free courses in literacy, numeracy and computer skills and the centre provides free lessons in how to write reports and job applications.

Since January 2010, 500 learners have enrolled for a variety of courses in English, maths and IT.

Mr Hayes met workers on the Olympic site, including security staff, workers from Tesco’s, fire fighters, union officials and community learners. He said: “The Olympics should not only be viewed as a sporting event, but also as a catalyst for more widespread social and economic change. The most important legacy of the Olympics will be found not just in a short-term boost in income and publicity – nor even in medals - but in a longer-term legacy of facilities, sustainable jobs and skills.”