This year, we've been working hard to help our audiences make the most of this one extraordinary Olympic year. You can read here about some of the ways we’ve been helping young people get involved and develop new skills – and the announcement of a new Apprenticeships scheme.

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A young woman attending a training session.

Learning the trade

Earlier this month, Caroline Thomson (the BBC's Chief Operating Officer) made a speech at the Apprenticeships Conference about the BBC's plans for apprenticeships, which will hopefully be good news to young ears.

The new scheme will give young people the chance to work towards a Level 5 Apprenticeship, which is equivalent to degree level. Traineeships up to Masters degree level will also be available. Once trained, these highly employable young people will be available to work in the media industry with no university debt.

Driven by the need for more diversity, these apprenticeships are one way we bridge the current skills gap faced by the industry. In order to produce great content that resonates with audiences in all communities, the BBC has to search for new talent in new places and provide fair access to jobs and opportunities to people from all backgrounds.

Read the speech here.

Coming up...

During the countdown to the Olympics, visitors to the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House can be immersed in an exclusive tour of Olympic Park with Super Hi-Vision screenings.

In a new series for BBC Two, presented by Michael Wood, The Great British Story looks at history through the eyes of ordinary people. A range of live events and activities across the UK will help us get closer to people throughout the UK and learn more about their lives.

Proms Plus are free introductory events designed to give the public a fascinating context to the music and artists featured in the BBC Proms season held at the Royal College of Music, including Proms Plus Family, Proms Plus Orchestra and Chorus and Proms Plus Sing.

More forthcoming events

Blue Peter Big Olympic Tour logo.

Blue Peter’s Big Olympic Tour

Blue Peter's Big Olympic Tour is almost half way through its journey around the UK following the route of the Torch Relay. Each week a special live Blue Peter programme is broadcast from a BBC Learning event designed to encourage CBBC fans and their families to get in the mood for the upcoming Olympic Games.

More than 18,000 children and their families have attended 5 of 9 events so far. Visitors to each event get the chance to see Blue Peter presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood's ultimate guide to the Olympics.

The children could also try their hand at sports commentating, find out more about the origins of the games Horrible Histories style and have a go at a host of sporting challenges.

Read more about the roadshow here.
Front cover of the latest CR Update from BBC Outreach.

Read all about it

BBC Outreach has just published the latest in its series of corporate responsibility updates, which focus on a particular area of the BBC's corporate responsibility work. This time, the spotlight is on the work we do to support the charity sector.

You can learn more about the work of the BBC's corporate charities, as well as other charities who have benefitted from BBC support and air time through our Lifeline and Radio 4 appeals.

Previous publications have looked at our work to reduce our environmental impacts, the steps we take to ensure we're managing our business responsibly and the way our face-to-face projects help us fulfil our public purposes.

Read the report here.


Trevor Nelson talking to young people at the Radio 1 Academy.

Academy days

In the run up to the Hackney Weekend, Radio 1 and BBC Learning celebrated the area's young people with the Radio 1 and 1Xtra Academy.

The Academy offered practical master-classes and workshops themed around fashion, music, radio, journalism, business, comedy and programming. 

Young people interviewed well-known celebrities like Rita Ora and Trevor Nelson and live broadcasts from the Academy were played on Radio 1 in June.

Q&A sessions also took place with a host of celebrities with strong links to the area, including Plan B, Leona Lewis and Dizzee Rascal.

Read what the students learned here.

Students watching a BBC staff member performing an business related experiment.

Trading up

CBBC's Trade Your Way to the USA returned to our screens in April this year, with Saira Khan on the hunt to find the best young traders in Britain. New for 2012 is the Trade Your Way: Schools Challenge, which asked students to set up their own business initiatives.

The Challenge helps primary school children learn valuable life skills and any profit raised goes towards a school project or charity.

A touring roadshow took enterprise inspired workshops led by presenter Saira Khan to schools in 9 cities across the UK - reaching 15,000 students! A free downloadable toolkit with curriculum-linked teaching activities, short films and worksheets is also available to support schools.

Visit the website to learn more here.


Young Ukranian supporters.

Football school

BBC News School Report helps secondary school students from across the UK develop journalism skills. This year, as part of their focus on sports, School Report has been working with students from Poland and Ukraine, asking them to report on Euro 2012.

BBC producer Phil Harlow helped the school reporters develop their skills with training sessions via video conference. As well as covering areas like writing match reports and conducting interviews with fans, the students learned about staying safe when reporting on big sporting events.

Working in partnership with the British Council's Connecting Classrooms project, students from the two host nations had the opportunity to attend several Euro 2012 matches and report on the action and everything else that comes with hosting a huge sporting occasion.

Read the student reports here.

Students watching a debate on TV.

The value of the games

BBC World Class helps UK schools to twin with schools around the globe as part of its educational legacy for the 2012 Olympics.

Each week, BBC World Class is addressing a different value as part of their countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games. After busy weeks covering Determination, Inspiration and Respect, they are now addressing Courage by showing films, school assemblies and live debates on the World Class website.

The highlight of each week has undoubtedly been the live debates, which give schools from across the globe a chance to have their say. The debates provide a useful tool for teachers keen to get students thinking about the wider place of sport in society, and have generated a genuinely diverse and enthusiastic exchange of ideas.

The next topic for debate is Excellence. Read more about it here.


A member of Cardiff's Yemeni community eats lunch with a BBC staff member.

Cultural connections

Having impressed Jamie Oliver with their culinary expertise, Cardiff's Yemeni community invited BBC Cymru Wales staff to share a traditional lunch and to hear their stories.

Guests from the BBC team learned about some of the fascinating cultural connections between Wales and Yemen and were given a tour of the South Wales Islamic Centre, mosque and community centre. Several programme makers took the opportunity to make contacts and record stories which later appeared on TV and radio services.

The event was part of an on-going BBC Cymru Wales drive by the Communities and Partnerships team to strengthen links between programme makers and communities throughout Wales.

Visit the BBC Cymru Wales site here.

Two performers dancing on Strictly Come Dancing.

Top draw

BBC Outreach will soon be launching an exciting new ticket ballot, which will see registered UK charities receiving tickets to popular show recordings such as Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear, Later with Jools Holland and QI.

Charity employees will soon be able to join a ballot, with the first draw being made in August 2012.

The draw will be made twice each year and the successful charities will be able to offer the tickets to their users or volunteers.

The scheme is a great opportunity for the BBC to build stronger links with the charitable sector and for charities to reward their users and volunteers.

Read more about BBC Outreach here.


And finally...

The BBC Bristol Outreach team and BBC staff volunteers have been working with a small but overlooked council estate in north Bristol on the Manor Farm Story Share Project.

They produced three films exploring areas of the community which were premiered at a local school to form a celebration of the area.

Discover more about Manor Farm.

It is 150 years since Geordie Ridley composed Blaydon Races to celebrate the journey from Newcastle to Gateshead to see the horse races in Blaydon. To mark the special anniversary, BBC Newcastle and local folk song writer Pete Scott worked with the community to rewrite the words of the song to reflect life in the North East in 2012.

Listen here.

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That's all for now. You can find lots more on our website.

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