Dream start: Durham graduates to work at Olympics
Six Durham University students will be seconding with the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) before starting careers with BP, owing to a 50% rise in graduate recruitment by the oil and gas company this year.
The Durham graduates will be fully paid and take part in a range of jobs, such as working at Scotland Yard, event management, organising transport or helping with city operations.
They will also receive an internship salary, accommodation and transport costs, after gaining training from both BP and LOCOG.
BP, the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Games, is the only company offering graduate recruits this unique opportunity, and will help to ensure that the Games leave a lasting legacy.
The increase in graduate recruitment has been welcomed by the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, who said it was a “reassuring sign that the recruitment market is improving”.
This opportunity acts to strengthen Durham’s already existing links with the summer games. Three Durham students who, alongside their studies, partake in international level sports, have been selected to carry to Olympic Torch as it passes through County Durham. The athletes are showcasing the quality of women’s sport at the University, which was ranked first in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league table.
The new £6.7 million sports facilities of Maiden Castle, which boasts world class resources such as the fencing facility and one-of-three national indoor rowing tanks, assist budding athletes to achieve their ambitions. With the highest university sports participation rate in the country of 92%, Durham prides itself on providing academic excellence alongside sports, the arts and volunteering.
A report by Universities UK and BUCS has shown that British medal winners in the last twenty years were, in comparison to the country’s population, twice as likely to have gone to university. Through a series of videos by Team GB explaining how higher education enabled the athletes to realise their sporting goals, universities’ contribution to the Games are being highlighted, as part of the third annual Universities’ Week.
Many graduates who were part of Team Durham during their time at the University have since gone on to compete at the Olympics. Jonathan Edwards CBE, a graduate of Van Mildert College, is Great Britain’s most successful medal winning athlete in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games as a triple jumper. Since retiring from the sport, he has held a position on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee. He stated that “I had 3 great years at Durham in an environment which fostered both sporting and academic achievement”.
Steve Rowbotham, a rower who graduated from Collingwood College in 2003, said that “Having never picked up an oar before I arrived at Durham University, eight years later I found myself on the Olympic podium with a Bronze medal around my neck… without Durham… I wouldn’t have realised my dreams”.
Durham is also involved in the training of Sri Lankan athletes for the Olympics, owing to the close relationship of the University with the country following the devastating 2004 tsunami.
It is hoped that the links formed by the graduate recruitment programme help to strengthen Durham’s links with London 2012, as the University contributes to both the planning and sports.