Podium reporter Stuart Appleby interviews Shadow Minister for the Olympics and London Tessa Jowell. The Labour politician discusses the importance of higher education, opportunities for students to get involved in the London 2012 Games, youth unemployment and the current issues surrounding work experience.
Shadow Olympics Minister praises the role of Further and Higher Education in the lead up to London 2012 (27th February 2012)
Jowell has a long association with higher education, having studied at the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and Goldsmiths College, University of London. After completing her studies, she became a social worker and then administrator of the mental health charity Mind, before embarking on a career in politics. She stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate in 1978, but was later elected at the 1992 General Election.
Jowell played a key role in helping to bring the Games to London as Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, before assuming the role of Minister for the Olympics following Great Britain’s successful bid in Singapore in 2005. Today, with Labour in opposition, Jowell still holds her Olympics portfolio.
Jowell has and continues to support the work of Podium, and in 2008, she was amongst the speakers at Podium’s First Annual Conference. More recently, she praised the role of both further and higher education sectors in helping to create a legacy for the 2012 Games.
“I visit a lot of colleges and universities and see the great work they are doing. There is a huge enthusiasm amongst students and there are lots of opportunities for people to get involved. We are going to see Great Britain explode with excitement, anticipation and pride about what is about to happen. You do not want to be left out of that.
“There should not be a young person in the country who does not feel that this is a festival for them. I hope campuses across Great Britain will bring groups of students together and they just go for it and get involved with Games related activity,” she said.
The Shadow Olympics Minister also reminded students and young people that there is still plenty of time to apply and get involved at the Games, in whatever capacity that might be.
She added: “I hope that those young people who have not thought about it yet are going to get engaged. You do not want to get to June and realise it is too late to get involved, so you have got the time now. A lot of what is going to happen during the Games is going to come from the impulse and initiative of campuses, student organisations and communities right across Great Britain.”