Merton helps residents achieve Olympic dream

Merton Council is working together with neighbouring Wandsworth Council to help residents achieve their dream of working as volunteers during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Following a successful bid by Wandsworth for funding from the London Development Agency, Merton Adult Education is conducting a series of eight-week Personal Best training courses during which students in the borough build a portfolio to achieve their City and Guilds Level 1 Award in Preparation for Events Volunteering. In their portfolio, the students record their hopes and aspirations for the future. They also learn about the Olympics, volunteering, what jobs will be available during the Olympics, how to deal with health and safety issues, customer relations and working with people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. The final unit of the course offers guidance on job interview skills, how to write a CV and how to complete a job application form.

Students receive a mix of one-to-one and small group tuition, as well as learning materials for their coursework, which is examined by City and Guilds. The final day of each course is held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon – one of the 2012 Olympic venues. The practical element of the course involves a work placement of at least 30 hours spent in the voluntary sector.

Merton Council’s strong partnership with local community groups and the voluntary sector helps students secure voluntary work placements and increases their chances of achieving a volunteering job during the Olympic Games. In the long term, the skills learned in conjunction with the voluntary work experience will enhance their future job prospects.

The Merton Adult Education team has also developed further courses to enable students to progress with their training, including other Level 1 and 2 Awards. These include volunteering, learning support, customer service with literacy, numeracy, English as a second language and IT.

One of the students on the course is Monica Bazanye, whose work placement was at the National Trust’s Morden Hall in Merton. On completing her placement, the National Trust asked her to continue at Morden Hall for the foreseeable future. She said: “I have found this course really useful. Learning all about how to write a good CV and job application will help me to achieve a voluntary post, hopefully something to do with the Olympics, and also will improve my chances of getting paid work too.” Another student, Annie Franco Paradelo, was also offered a continued voluntary work placement as an administrative assistant for the Professional Development Centre at the Chaucer Centre, Morden.

Merton Council cabinet member for environment and leisure services Councillor David Simpson said: “These adult education courses offer a wonderful opportunity for people who are out of work to gain invaluable skills for life. The Olympics will provide so many incredible opportunities for Londoners, and preparing people by offering them training like this enables Merton residents to be as well equipped as possible to take advantage of the volunteering possibilities that will be at their disposal.”

More information about volunteering in 2012 can be found at


Notes to editor

Personal Best is a national training programme linked to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has been developed by the London Development Agency to offer Londoners a stepping stone into work. Personal Best will help around 7,000 people to gain their first qualification through borough based classes and individual support:
The Personal Best Programme is aimed at helping Merton residents lacking in qualifications ease back into employment. It also sets out to build their self esteem and confidence before returning to the work force.

To learn more about Personal Best call Wendy Martin on 080 8871 6181 or 0777 522 1609. Alternatively, visit

To qualify for the programme residents should be between 16 and 65 years of age, have less than a full Level 2 qualification (5 GCSEs), be currently unemployed and live in Merton.