THE Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be the biggest ever sporting and cultural event held in Scotland, with thousands of the world's best athletes set to go for gold in our great city.

But Glasgow's Games are not just about 11 days of sporting competition.

They are an opportunity to leave lasting benefits for the people of Glasgow.

That has been the driving force behind the £50million Glasgow Guarantee; the most comprehensive and best funded range of support offered by any council in the UK to tackle unemployment.

With less than 150 days to go to the Games, figures show that 4500 people have found work, training or apprenticeships in Glasgow as a result of projects specifically related to the Games.

One of the legacy projects - the Commonwealth Graduate Fund - has also reached a major milestone of finding work for more than 500 of the city's graduates, half way to its final target.

We want to give Glaswegians the skills and opportunities to find work and fulfil their aspirations for a brighter future.

The more skilled people we have in the city, and the more we link these skills to the needs of business, the easier it is to attract future investment and jobs.

While some politicians are distracted by the constitution, I am focussed on how we support Glaswegians as they either begin their working life or try to find new skills and job opportunities.

TOMORROW sees the start of Lent and I will once again be giving up chocolate. This might sound easy but as anyone who knows me will tell you I love chocolate, so I am preparing myself for what will be a testing 40 days.

Lent is an important religious season and a time for helping those who are worse off.

I know several of my colleagues on the city council, including the Depute Leader Councillor Archie Graham, will also be giving up life's little luxuries during Lent and helping to raise some funds for charity at the same time.

Good luck to all readers, religious or not, who are observing the 40 days in one way or another.

ON Thursday Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee will meet at Tollcross International Swimming Centre as we deliver on our pledge to make council business more open to the public.

Over the next three years we will take council meetings to communities across the city and it is fitting that this Executive Committee meeting will be at the £13.8million swimming centre - one of the venues that will take centre stage during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

We want people to be close to the democratic process and that is why we will also be broadcasting Full Council meetings live from next month.