BAA completes ‘Team Heathrow’ Olympics recruitment
Fri, 20 Apr 2012
BAA, operator of Heathrow and Stansted among other UK airports, has completed the recruitment of ‘Team Heathrow”, the 1,000-strong volunteer workforce it is bringing in to cope with the massive increase in passenger numbers expected for the London Olympics.
The volunteers will be deployed at Heathrow between 1 July and 1 October.
Fiona Tice, head of BAA’s volunteers’ programme, says the recruitment was completed at the end of last week. “The volunteers will be meeting and greeting our ‘Games family’, the athletes and sponsors, and guiding them through the airport.”
There were 2,500 applications for the 1,000 volunteer roles, Tice tells Recruiter.
The volunteers will be supplemented by 600 head office staff, who will help facilitate the flow of passengers so that “it is business as usual, and the airport doesn’t get congested”.
Key dates are expected to be 16 July when the bulk of teams fly in, 26 July when many sponsors and guests arrive, and 13 August after the closing ceremony when Heathrow predicts its busiest ever day.
BAA already uses several hundred temporary agency staff at Heathrow and their numbers will be flexed as required, and used particularly in the pre-security baggage check area, says Tice. Three agencies – Blackjack, Reach and Wilson James – work for BAA at Heathrow, providing RPO services, she says.
Tice says that BAA looked for people with strong customer-facing skills. “For us, somebody who can engage in conversation and smile goes a long way.”
And while she accepts that BAA is competing with other employers, who are looking for staff with similar skills for the period in and around the Olympics, she says Heathrow has some unique attractions.
“The difference is that they get to work where 80% of the Games family will be coming through the doors. Also, they do want that experience of working at an airport. These two points mean that we have attracted more people than we expected.”
Tice adds that older people are particularly keen to work at Heathrow. “A lot of the students have gone for more of the seasonal jobs,” she says.