Monday 12 July 2010

Would You Like Fries With That?

News today of the probable abolition of the Food Standards Agency and accusations that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has caved in to the food industry might seem to suggest that the multinationals who provide us with processed, high-fat, high-sugar food have spent the last decade in the political wilderness. Nothing could be further from the truth, as this story from Third Sector ably demonstrates:

McDonald's confirmed as volunteer coordinator for London 2012 Olympics

Lord Coe says fast-food chain will be 'presenting partner' for the volunteering part of the games

McDonald’s will be responsible for recruiting and training the 70,000 volunteers needed to run the 2012 Olympic Games, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has confirmed.

Lord Coe, chair of Locog, announced on Friday that the restaurant chain had been appointed as the ‘presenting partner’ for the volunteering aspect of the games. "I just instinctively know we have to get this right and recruit 70,000 of the best volunteers," he said. "McDonald’s is pre-eminent in training and retention, and I’m delighted it will be our partner.

"Athletes know they are supported in so many ways by the quality of the volunteers."

Coe declined to reveal the financial terms of the deal.

Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald’s, said branches of the chain would display posters encouraging people to volunteer at the games. Some of the firm’s staff would be seconded for two years to recruit and train the volunteers, he said.

"Selecting and training talent is what we’re about," he added.

The volunteers will be called ‘games makers’. There will be specialist volunteers for medical services and press operations, and general volunteers working as spectator assistants, uniform distributors and ticket checkers.

Coe said the applications process for specialist volunteers would open on 27 July and the process for general volunteers on 15 September.

As we all know, nothing quite sums up the Olympian spirit like a Big Mac and fries, but Coe must have super-sized on fizzy cola if he really believes that McDonald’s is renowned for retention. What's the old joke? Stay all day and become assistant manager?

Incidentally, there's a few things that potential 'game makers' need to bear in mind: as well as their 15 hours of training, they must be prepared for at least 10 days of unpaid work during 2012. But at least they'll be provided with "an official Games Maker uniform" that "can be kept as a souvenir of the experience and contribution to the Games".

Zero salary, a free uniform and an undisclosed McProfit for the company. Now I see why McDonalds has been appointed.

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