Olympics offers chance to learn IT management role

More than 3,000 Londoners will be offered IT training and management experience when the Olympic Games visit the capital in 2012.

More than 3,000 Londoners will be offered IT training and management experience when the Olympic Games visit the capital in 2012.

IT professionals who volunteer to help systems integrator Atos Origin have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain experience of a massive IT project, the supplier said.

In the month before the games, the number of people working on the Olympics' IT systems will rocket from about 50 people, all permanent employees of Atos Origin, to 3,500.

Atos Origin expects to employ 500 people directly, with the remaining 3,000 people unpaid volunteers from the local community.

It is common for the principal technology supplier to major sporting events, including last summer's football World Cup in Germany, to rely on volunteers to run systems.

Volunteers will work in the games' two datacentres, its 200-seat operations centre, an integration testing lab and the stadiums themselves.

Atos Origin London 2012 account director Rob Price said, "Any volunteer could have a management role at a venue. Everyone has an absolutely vital role to play in delivering business-critical processes."

People will be asked to perform helpdesk roles, manage venues, or ensure that information reaches key parties, such as the media, at the right time.

Volunteers can expect extensive free-of-charge e-learning programmes in the run-up to the games. At Athens in 2004, Atos Origin ran 386 training courses over the three months immediately before the Olympic Games.

Price said, "We are looking for a range of skills, from professional conduct to a reasonably high level of IT literacy. What is important is trust and professionalism. We use a knowledge management system to recommend what to do when something goes wrong."

The systems integrator has recorded what happened at Salt Lake City 2002, Athens, and Torino 2006. Its knowledge management system will be further improved by its experience running the next summer games in Beijing in 2008 and the winter games in Vancouver 2010.

Atos Origin would prefer people with IT experience to volunteer, but the UK's skills shortage is likely to mean it will have to train people with no IT background.

Price said the five London borough councils where the games will be held could provide basic IT training to disadvantaged people in their communities to broaden the pool of potential IT volunteers.



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