The mayor of Tower Hamlets attempted to land East End youngsters work experience placements at Canary Wharf and City firms during the PageGroup Tower Hamlets Telethon.

John Biggs was on the phones alongside around 50 consultants speaking to clients of the global recruitment firm.

The aim of the event was to secure placements for Tower Hamlets students aged 14 to 18.

John said he was “dreading” making the calls, claiming he’s not much of a telephone salesman, but said it was important that the youngsters were given the opportunity to get into the professional world.

“Our youngsters need to get work experience as part of their journey towards work,” said John.

"Getting into work is not just about exams and learning, it’s also about understanding the work environment, overcoming some of their nervousness and breaking down barriers.

“It’s also about making sure employers understand the potential of young people in the East End.

"In many cases, the City still doesn’t look towards the East End for recruitment, so it’s about breaking down barriers and getting people into the workplace.

“It’s a massive opportunity for the companies to unlock some real potential and it will help create better relationships.”

The telethon on Thursday, July 21 was part of the 1000 Club, an initiative put together by PageGroup and Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership.

The aim of the scheme is to secure 1,000 work experience placements for Tower Hamlets youngsters in 2016.

John said that it could held to break down traditional barriers between the East End and the City.

He said: “The East End traditionally has been a working class area where people wouldn’t have seen city jobs as even being in their ball park.

“Those boundaries are slowly breaking down and we need to accelerate that and overcome the resistances from both directions.

“London is a service economy city so the sort of things people’s grandparents did no longer exist. They now need to be literate, numerate, confident and presentable to get into the city job markets.”

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