London Olympics legacy: jobs, jobs and jobs

The leader of one of the capital’s original Olympic boroughs believes east Londoners have benefited from the 2012 Games, thanks to local authority efforts

There are prosperous views looking west from the roof of what was once the London 2012 Olympics press centre and is now part of a commercial complex called Here East, whose best known tenant is BT Sport: straight ahead for the City and the Shard; look left for more big money towers in Canary Wharf; further left and much nearer, the Olympic stadium is a short walk away. On the other side of Here East, across the Olympic Park, lies Stratford town centre with its luxurious Westfield mall. But beyond that stretches the rest of the London borough of Newham, one of the poorest places in the UK.

Inside the Here East building, Newham’s Labour executive mayor Sir Robin Wales talked about jobs. He told a conference called Rising in the East that in the past six years the council’s job brokerage, Workplace, which began in 2007, had got well over 30,000 local people into jobs – people who had never worked or who had been unemployed for a long time. The secret, he said, has been to partner with local employers to help Newham residents to seize the opportunities the rapid development of this part of east London has brought – not just since the Olympics, but from the early years of this century with Westfield’s investment in Stratford City and the steady, long-term eastward shift of the capital’s economic centre of gravity.

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