Behind the Scenes with the Tradespeople of the Rio Olympics 2016

Behind the Scenes with the Tradespeople of the Rio Olympics 2016

With the Rio Olympics now finished, one can’t help but watch in awe and wonder at the immense scale of such an event. Its worldwide significance is unparalleled - nowhere else on Earth is there to be found an event more significant than the Olympics, with nations around the world uniting to compete in a truly inspiring performance of passion, determination, respect and talent.

The demands for any Olympic hosting nation are extremely high - in 7 years, Brazil have had to complete a staggering amount of preparation for this year’s event, dubbed as the biggest race in Olympic history . For a country which has certainly seen its fair share of difficulties in recent years, both politically and socially, and not to mention the recent Zika virus and terrorist threats, the demand could hardly have been higher.

But ultimately, the unsung heroes in making the Olympics a reality were the 90,000 or so tradespeople who were employed to perform a feat just as incredible as any Olympic event: building the Olympics itself.

By Miriam Jeske/ CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Image by Gabriel Heusi/, under CC by 3.0

Image by Jorge Andrade, Flickr. 

With 14 new stadiums, most of them all from scratch, and additional roads, buildings, intensified safety measures, accommodation for athletes, tourists and staff, the plans were certainly beyond ambitious from the start. Here are some early artistic impressions of how the Olympic Park would look when complete.

Images by Paisajes Emergentes, Flickr

It goes to show just how essential trade skills are to the modern world. Without them, there’d be no Olympics anywhere (they’re yet to design pop-up Olympic stadiums!). By looking at these plans, the workers must have felt their work truly cut out for them.

And it certainly was - unfortunately, the scale of this job might have taken its toll on the Rio tradespeople, who have admittedly faced many unprecedented difficulties in recent weeks.

A fire breaking out in the athletes’ village, sprinklers and fire alarms failing to activate, Australian, Italian, Argentinian, and New Zealand teams voicing complaints regarding lack of health and safety, were among several issues already plaguing the Olympics in Rio.

In addition to this, tradespeople were spotted sitting on cranes and working with tools, still hurriedly adding finishing touches to the Olympic stadiums only five days before the Olympics began - talk about cutting it fine!

Regardless of this, the fact that the Olympics has been able to go ahead mostly without serious issue is an enormous feat in itself, and one that must not be overlooked. This ought to be a time for celebrating the incredible power of the tradesmen and women who built every stadium, every village of accommodation, every building, and made them safe to use.

This ought to be a time to recognise what feats skilled workers can achieve, and a time to be inspired worldwide by the determination shown in order to rise in the face of many crushing adversities.

However, most importantly, we must acknowledge that this struggle has been a clear indicator that trades are not only relevant in today’s world, but necessary and in dire need. It is unlikely that the issues faced so far at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics have been solely due to negligence or poor quality of work, but rather simply an undersized workforce and a shortage in enough highly skilled workers.

Put simply, we need more of you! With a rapidly growing worldwide population, we need tradespeople more than ever. Tradespeople are weaving the fabric of our society - they build our homes, our hospitals, our schools - and our Olympics.

If you’re looking to change your career, focus on something worthwhile and contribute directly to the society in which you live, then do not hesitate to contact Access Training on 0800 345 7492. Our course advisers will provide you with all the information and guidance you need to become a fully qualified tradesperson.

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