My entry into the world of events began in January 2013, when an article on the BBC website appeared on my computer screen asking for volunteers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I remember sitting at my desk, hating the job I was in and thinking that this was it. This is what I wanted to do.
So I took that first tiny step, and I filled in the application and pressed send. That tiny step soon became a huge leap when I received my invite to interview for the Games and I quit my job and contacted Terbell about a space on their full time October course. I had decided that this was the direction I wanted to go in, and why not jump head first into something new?
I found out on the 29th November that I was going to become a Clydesider – I was one of the lucky few that had been selected to work in Press Operations at the Glasgow National Hockey Arena. By this time, I had begun the Terbell course, and was loving it, but I was beyond excited to be part of something so important.
My life became very hectic, with coursework deadlines, an exam and an internship to complete, but my trips up to Glasgow were anything but a chore. Through orientation, to role and venue specific training, I was learning something new and having the time of my life. However, I must admit to feeling very nervous for July 23rd to arrive, as it meant that I had to put everything I had learned into practice and prove that I was worthy of that title of Clydesider.
For anyone who has volunteered you will know that it can be a big sacrifice, giving your time, and having to spend your own money to take part and I’m sure you will agree that your experience can be very dependent on the people around you. Well Glasgow didn’t disappoint! From my first shift, I felt incredible, Team Hockey was a force to be reckoned with! Now don’t get me wrong, there were a few hiccoughs here and there, and my time with Terbell had taught me to spot where errors were occurring – but I was beyond thrilled that after less than a year in the industry, I was able to spot and help make changes to make the event run smoothly!
My role was on the photo team, which meant that I was looking after and making sure that the accredited photographers behaved themselves. It also meant that I often had the best seats in the stadium, even if I did have to duck from a hockey ball or two! Our first test (and it was definitely a big one!) happened on our second shift as HRH the Queen decided to make an appearance bringing a total of 30 additional photographers. As the press team had expected a much lower number, we were instantly put through our paces. But with a smile on our face we got through it, and came out the other end knowing that we could handle anything that a photographer threw our way!
As the days shot by, I got to see some amazing hockey, meet members of the hockey squads and made some amazing contacts with the press team. As volunteers, we were encouraged to grab every moment of the games and I certainly took up the challenge! From hunting down the Clyde statues around Glasgow, to attending the festivals and big screen events I immersed myself and tried to learn as much as I could about putting on events of that size.
As the 11 days quickly shot by, I couldn’t believe that the journey I had begun 18 months ago was almost at an end. The time had come for me to look back and see what it was that I had done, and I can tell you now that I do not regret a second! To the point that I have already signed up for the next Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia!
These past 18 months have flown by, I now have a new postgraduate diploma, a new full time job and a love of volunteering that I cannot see ending any time soon. For anyone out there considering volunteering, I would suggest that you go for it, take that leap and you will have the time of your life and be able to look back and say that you were part of something amazing!
Alice French Post Grad Event Management Diploma 2014