Commonwealth Games Volunteering Programme Workshop

This is a transcript of the 'Top Tips for Applications' Commonwealth Games Volunteering Programme Webinar, held by the University of Birmingham's Careers Network on Tuesday 8 June, 2021.

Phill Williams: So there we go, so now we are recording. So we will crack on with the session today. This is our top tips, advice, guidance and information that we have on the volunteering programme for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which obviously we know is being hosted primarily in the city of Birmingham and wider as well, both within the West Midlands, and there is a couple of other satellite locations as well, supporting. With the University of Birmingham being one of the primary sponsors and also a host of two of the sports in hockey and squash, we're really excited to have the Games coming our way next summer, it’s a fantastic festival of sport and obviously we're delighted with the opportunities it’s going to present for staff and students alike.

I am just going to go into what we are going to cover today but I am just going to watch a little video, to start with.

[Video plays on-screen]

“Watch it, or be part of it. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is coming. We are so excited to be 2022 Commonwealth Games he's coming was so excited to be the official venue for hockey and squash, hosts to the largest athlete’s village and an official partner of the Games. Now it's your chance to be at the heart of the action. Volunteer at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. All you need is a passion for your community and city. Our UoB Community can play a part in the biggest sporting events our region and has ever seen. There’s a huge variety of roles available. Students, you can gain new skills that help you stand out from the crowd. Staff, we will match your annual taken to volunteer up to four days. Make memories that will last a lifetime. Go on, be a game changer. Applications open 1 June.”

[Video ends]

Great stuff so hopefully that whets the appetite for what we're going to be covering today. Before we jump into the rest of the session I'm just going to ask you to complete a quick poll just because we've opened this session up to current students, staff and to our alumni community as well, so just be great to kind of get a perspective in the room of who we've got. This is anonymous so don't worry we're not going to be attributing anything to you, so if you could just complete this poll that I'm just about to launch now, one second.

Oh, it doesn't seem to be working for me. That's useful.

We will skip this poll. Can everybody see that okay? So what we're going to cover in this session really is what we know in terms of what the volunteering is about, what the volunteer program entails, roles, some of the criteria that we know about and then obviously we will be going into the application process itself and I've got some slides that take you through page by page what the application form entails.

Then we'll be adding our anecdotal advice and guidance as we go through. Finishing then with what’s next and how you can get involved.

The first and foremost, before you even make an application, it's asking the question: why should I volunteer? Why does this necessarily interest me? It could be a whole range of different reasons or all of the reasons that we've put on this screen.

Whether you're a current student and you're looking to develop some additional skill sets and add those your portfolio and CV.

We know that the pandemic has made getting work experience quite difficult.

So obviously having such an event around the corner, is going to be a great opportunity. If you're a member of staff, it could be that you're looking to build additional skills to your current skill set within your current roles or explore something a bit different.

Likewise it's a great opportunity to make more connections, make friends make and be able to grow your network. You never know who you might be volunteering with and what kind of walk of life they come from and that they may well be useful connections for you in the future, regardless of where you are.

In terms of the roles what the Commonwealth Games organizers have done is broadly split them into two main categories.

The first one being generalist, where you don't necessarily need any prior experience or a specialist skill set to obtain but they're just looking for people that are passionate, enthusiastic, keen to get involved, keen to try something new and be flexible in those regards.

There are also some specialist roles that have been allocated and we'll go through the application form, where they are looking for a more specialist skill set.

Some of those, for instance, are more on the medical side they're looking for people with first aid qualifications where they’ll look for people to provide a little bit more and expertise in the application form.

Broadly speaking, those are the two broader roles.

Where would those roles take place and what would they be involved with? There's a whole range of different opportunities. There’s the website and the link on the page here and we can obviously put some more links into the chat later on.

There's going to be roles involved in all of these different areas, so the University of Birmingham for instance is one of the big sites that’s providing accommodation for the athletes, as one of the athletes’ villages. There’s obviously things around the medical side of things.

We got a question last time about live sites. So these are sites that are not necessarily sites where Games will be happening or events will be happening. There are some sports that will be happening so, for instance UoB hosting two of the pages, but these will be sites and that will be based in towns and cities across the West Midlands, where they're looking to engage the public, for instance in activities and other things that are associated with the Games.

Obviously there's loads of things around anti-doping, and media and press, and if you particularly interested, mascot chaperoning as well. So there’s a whole range of different roles.

What I would encourage you to do and this kind of links to the next point will be talking about really is to make sure you do your research in terms of what some of the roles are and what some of the things you can get involved with because when we go through the application process that's going to be the key thing in terms of identifying your preferences, identifying what you would prefer to do.

There’s sites across Birmingham, and so, for those who aren't necessarily as aware, the University of Birmingham is one of the sites. We've got the Alexandra Stadium and the Perry Barr and there's quite a few other sites. Edgbaston stadium is being used as one of the as one of the sites.

But there's also other places across the West Midlands, Cannock Chase Park, as well as Coventry and the Ricoh Arena.

There is also a satellite, I think they are using the Velodrome at the old Olympic Park in London for the for the track cycling. So there is going to be opportunities, predominantly in the West Midlands, but also potentially in London as well.

Hopefully I've given you a bit of a flavour of things that you might want to look into but what I would encourage you to do is go away and have a look at primarily the Commonwealth Games page, the volunteer page. It goes into all the detail around what the roles are, what the locations are and which sports are being hosted at which locations as well, just so it gives you a really clear indication of what you want to do.

What I'd keep encouraging you to do as well as is follow the various social media feeds, both with the University of Birmingham as a sponsor.

Our teams are posting all sorts of different updates on our social media feeds, but also for the Birmingham 2022 official feeds on things like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and the likes.

I've seen quite a few things on Twitter today where people are doing case studies. So, these are people that have volunteered for previous Games that have happened in the UK and otherwise and they're talking about their stories and what they did to get involved, and that gives you a little bit more of a flavour as to what some of these opportunities are.

I just thought I'd put this slide up again. I’ll stress here that we're not the Games organizers so we haven't been able to control what the criteria are. These are the main criteria for the roles and hopefully what a lot of this means is it's pretty accessible to most people and hopefully all people to apply.

Of course, they are will be looking for people that are eligible to volunteer in the UK, so that does mean international students can volunteer as well, providing they've got the right documentation.

They will look for people to attend all of the training throughout the process, so there will be training from January to April next year, once we've gone through all the events selection processes in September to December this year.

Whilst you will be able to put your preferences and we'll talk about the preferences and the application form shortly, you will need to accept what you're given, in terms of both venue and the role.

There is a minimum of eight shifts, I think each shift is eight hours long. Is that right Phil, from your understanding? Sorry to put you on the spot there.

Phillip Heighway: Yes generally, it is eight hours. Tt can be from six in the morning, right through to around half 11 at night, when kicking out time generally happens within the stadiums and a little bit of clean up. It doesn't mean that you’ll volunteer from 6am to 11. There'll be eight hour blocks in general throughout the day, depending on your role.

Phill Williams: Right, so thank you Phil.

Some of the other stuff is, you will need to pass security and background checks as well, and the application form talks you through a lot of that.

Of course, to volunteer in the Games, you will need to be fully available between the 28th of July and the 8th of August in 2022 because obviously you could be allocated any of those shifts between those times.

Obviously, with it being hosted in the UK, the Games organizers are looking for people that can communicate in English, but also, they are looking for British sign language speakers as well, so if you have any kind of level of knowledge and expertise in that then that's obviously going to be worthwhile highlighting throughout the application process.

Stephen Bayles: Hi Phil, we've just had a couple of questions come through so I thought, maybe it'd be a good time to address them now. This one says, can you request a volunteer with someone else you know, to support transport needs, etc.?

Phill Williams: I don't know the answer to that, I suspect it may well beyond the Q&A. Phil, were you going to jump in there?

Phillip Heighway: At this point, I think there's nothing within the application process, so it would be, I suppose, on the proviso that both of you got in and through the application process, so again, you have to make sure you're available. Firstly, make sure you can get to the venues independently, just in case one other person that you rely on, either doesn't make it or can no longer make it. But if you do both make it through the whole process, if you speak to the Commonwealth Games, then it might be something that they can then link you together. But it won't be right until the end of the process, so I wouldn't count on it at this point.

Phill Williams: And I suppose, the only thing I would add as well, what we haven't put a slide up about, but you have a look through some of the benefits of being a volunteer, one of the benefits is free transport throughout the West Midlands region to help you get to and from the various locations to use public transport and as well, so that that also will you know play a part in that decision as well.

But that's more of a question you're going to have to ask the Games organizers as you go through the application process as Phil says.

Stephen Bayle: Phil, we've had another few questions, would you like to answer any more now or shall we move on to the next slide?

Phill Williams: Are they on this section Steve?

Stephen Bayle: The next one is, indeed, yes. We have one that says I am fully available from 28th of July to the 8th of August, but what if my job does not give me the time off? I am a current student but will be working for the university next year. Do I need to get permission before applying?

Phill Williams: What the University of Birmingham is going to be doing is offering staff as you might see in the video the opportunity to have up to four days to support volunteering, and so there is going to be a conscious effort in the University to be supporting the Games and they are encouraging staff to apply for opportunities in the Games. So I'd imagine if you're working for the University of Birmingham, then that should be suitable and what obviously I would encourage you to do is when you start and once you start having conversations with your line manager, to let them know that that's coming through and then as soon as you are then offered the shifts and things like that, then obviously communicate that with your line manager at that particular point in time. I can't really offer any more advice than that really. But like I say, if you're working for the University of Birmingham, they're very encouraging of people getting involved in supporting the Games.

Phillip Heighway: And I think as you are putting it in the application now, speak to your line manager now and talk through if there is going to be a specific problem with the volunteering in that time. Now if you've got a big deadline that you need to hit or something like that, then you might struggle, but again as it's the University of Birmingham, we are trying to be an advocate and encourage people. But again it's just talking to your line manager and seeing what things you might be doing around that time.

Phill Williams: Yeah and obviously different teams have different peaks and troughs. Speaking from Careers, you know it's a bit more of a quieter time in Careers Network, so that would be a bit easier for us to work things around, but then I do know that, for instance in student recruitment, August, can be a hugely busy time, and so you know with results days and things like that coming around the corner and all that work that happens. So you'll have to make a judgment as to which team you’re in and obviously have that conversation with your line manager.

Any others on this part Steve or should we press on?

Stephen Bayles: Of course, a couple of quick ones then. When is the deadline for applications?

Phill William: Yeah, so there is no deadline and what we are doing these webinars for is to really encourage you to try and get your applications in sooner rather than later. We've heard on the grapevine, there's nothing official here, but we've heard that as soon as they get the number of applications that they are looking for, they will then close with not a huge amount of notice. So I would very much encourage people to try and get their application in over the next week or two.

Stephen Bayles: We had one that was where will training be taking place?

Phill Williams: We don't know any specific locations, but I believe in places across Birmingham.

Stephen Bayles: And we had a final one that was just mentioning about, are there any roles that require speaking foreign languages?

And I'd suggest actually go in and having a dig around and actually researching some of the roles. There's so many roles, with so many different individual unique aspects so that we don't really know the minute aspects of them all so it would be worth spending a bit of time having a look yourself on that one.

Phill Williams: There isn't a huge amount you'll see on the application form that will go through.

There isn't a huge amount, where you can actually talk about some of those skills that you have, the ability to speak other languages, but certainly at a later point in the application process, for instance, if you are selected to come in for an interview, I would very much encourage you to talk about those additional skill sets that you have.

Because, of course, yes, you know we're going to be welcoming visitors from across the globe and those abilities to speak different languages from countries within the Commonwealth will be hugely advantageous so I very much encourage you to keep that in mind.

But like I say, you'll see in the application form when we go through now that there isn't a huge amount of opportunity to actually put some of those things in so I'd imagine it will come through at later points in the application process.

Great stuff and so we will press on then, with the application form. There's eight pages to the to the application form, so you go via the central webpage, the Commonwealth Games Volunteering sign.

This is essentially page one. I'm not going to speak too much about this because page one is primarily your personal details and so all I can advise here is be as accurate as possible.

But yeah just make sure that you fill in all of the elements that are asterisked on the form. There's not a huge amount I can really advise on page one.

The one thing I will say just before I crack on on this actually. You will need to complete each page before you can then progress to the next page and so. It just allows you to open up as you go through. But you don't have to submit straight away if that makes sense, so you can save your progress and come back at a later point so you don't have to complete it all in one go.

That's page one. Page two is primarily focused on your ID. So that relates to the stuff I mentioned earlier, in terms of eligibility criteria and the agreement to having background checks and things like that.

All the instructions are on the on the page. If you're a UK citizen, you'll have to either upload a copy of your passport or a driving license and if you're a non-UK citizen, you'll also need to upload your passport.

You also have to input some of the details, and you will also have to upload a photograph as well, of yourself. So these are just a few things for you to be aware of before you complete your application that you will need to provide those details as part of the form.

Hopefully it should not actually take too much work for you to do.

So again, page one and two, hopefully fairly simple. Hopefully will allow you to get through pretty quickly.

So, then, we come to more the availability section. This is where that point around making sure that you do the research and having a look through what some of the opportunities are, the locations, and things like that. That's what really starts coming to the fore at this point.

There are opportunities to get involved in the Games themselves, of course, but there's also other opportunities in the lead up to the Games.

So I mentioned that a part of the application process is a series of selection events and interviews and what the Games organizers will be looking for are people that are happy to volunteer to support those, and actually assess some of the other volunteers on the Program.

And so you have got the option if you wish, and it's just see a series of drop down boxes here, yes or no where you can offer to put your time forward, in both the selection events and other opportunities, just before that as well. Because there will be things, for instance, like arrivals and venue prep and things like that, that will need to happen, prior to the Games starting on the 28th of July.

And so you can put yes or no here, and it will make no difference to the application, they just want to get a clear sense of your availability.

What I would encourage you to think about here is just be honest. So if you don't think you'll be able to commit to these things, say no. It's better to have that than having to try and renegotiate later down the line.

Page 4 is when we start getting into more detail around skills and experience. I've just circled this piece here. Some students, potentially on this call, but ignore this if you haven’t done this, but some students might have applied internally to either a first aid responder or events selection coordinator position. If you have done so and are waiting to hear for your application to come back to you and if you are successful you'll be given a code that you'll need to input and this is the section, where you would then put that code. Everybody else, you can ignore that piece of information.

In terms of, then the scope going into more detail. As you can see, it's more of a series of drop down boxes and things like that. What there will be on this section, if you're like me, for instance, and I don't have a huge amount of specialist sport experience or specialist medical experience or first aid experience. I'm going to select no, and I can quite quickly get to the next page and progress my application. However, there will be many of you in the audience today who will have some specialist sport experience, so you might well be involved in sports outside of university or be involved in recreational sport and get involved in things like organising certain events, organising certain things to happen. That would be great experience to highlight.

Some of you may have some specialist medical experience and you might be on some of our medical programs, for instance, that you might want to highlight. And some of you may have first aid qualifications as well and, again, this will be the section, where you can discuss and bring to life these. But, again, it won't make any difference to your application if you're saying no here. Again it's better, to be honest and say no, I don't have that experience and move forward.

So I'll just go through some of these in a little bit more detail. If you do select yes, it then brings down a number of other kind of drop down menus for you to work through and again, it will just be a case of saying yes, no etc. But there is then a section where they'll give you 250 characters, which isn't a huge amount, where you can elaborate on your experience.

And I'll just bring Steve in this section if that's alright Steve, because you'll probably say it much more succinctly than I will, in terms of any advice here around how best to utilize this very short character count.

Stephen Bayle: Of course Phil is entirely correct, that is a very short character count. It's actually a lot shorter than you'll see on most applications I dare say you'll encounter.

My main advice would be, you don't want to just list things because you don't want to have anything without any real depth. I know that can sound problematic because, again 250 characters. What I would suggest, then would be for you to think about what is the very best example you can place in here, and then what would maybe the second best be. But let's think about our first example first.

If you wanted to get over all of the most relevant information, how much would that take up essentially? So if we just take it back to the start, what I'd suggest is write down your answer in the first instance in a Word document. Don't write it out straight on here, because the thing is if you write it online, you'll start getting close to the end of the character count and then the temptation is to just quickly wrap it up and finish what you're writing. I’d suggest, write it in a Word document and try to keep it as succinct and as focused as possible when you're writing it. But at the same time, try not to worry too much about the word count.

Then, once you've done that you can try to break it down and think about what are my core messages. If the representative from the Commonwealth Games was in front of me right now, and they said ‘tell me about an experience that makes you suitable for this volunteer opportunity’, what is the first thing you'd want to tell them about?

And so, another example I'll give you now is in terms of structuring your answer. I’ll try to keep it as quick as possible, but what I would suggest is you could also try to sneak in a bit of breath to your answer as well. So, for instance, you might say something to the effect of ‘I have a variety of experiences, including this this and this’ or just list them to show a bit of breadth, and then go into the depth on one primary experience. It's a very, very fine balance and I understand that it is such a small word count, but really that's the best advice I can offer because you still want to have that depth in there, as well as the breadth.

Phill Williams: Yeah absolutely, so I could say, for instance, I've been involved in football, cricket and dodgeball at recreational level, but in dodgeball specifically I've got involved in the organization of national teams blah blah blah.

Stephen Bayles: It’s going to be different for absolutely everybody because we've all got different experiences that might be in their own unique ways relevant to the different opportunities.

Phill Williams: Right, so thank you Steve, I knew you'd say all of that far more succinctly and effectively than I would.

I think the only thing really I would just say is make sure you write this positively. What I mean by that is, say what you have got, think about really nice descriptive, powerful words that can really succinctly say what your level of involvement and responsibilities have been.

Stephen Bayles: One final quick tip actually, I'll be having to leave in 10 minutes or so, so I'll just make another quick tip. Always try to avoid like rating your own level of experience with something. I've seen so many applications where people are like I am competent with. And the thing is, competence isn't a negative word unto itself but it just seems like a less than confident way of talking about yourself. What I'd say is you don't even necessarily need to rate your skills or inexperience at all. Actually just by saying what you did or how you used the skill, even if you feel yourself looks competent ‘just competent’, actually, show them what you did. It's always better to have a show, rather than tell approach. So that's another pitfall to try to avoid essentially.

Phill Williams: Great piece of advice, thank you Steve. Much appreciated.

So hopefully that covers that section there. So if you are looking to put some of that special sport experience and, for instance, if you are a student here at the University of Birmingham, and you have been involved in recreational sport, got involved in some of them or university based teams, or any of the volunteering experiences that Phil and the team put on. Any of those experiences can come forward here. I realise, you might be a member of staff, and you participate in various sports outside of work. Again these could all be useful to put in, so if you're in doubt, my view would be put it in. The worst somebody can do is to say, well it's not quite what we're looking for and move on. So it's better, to put it in there than not to put it in.

So moving on, if you then stipulate that you have got some specialist medical experience and again, if you're in doubt, put some stuff down You get a similar set of questions, similar set of drop down questions. Then as well, you get the option to have a couple of 250 characters to outline any other additional experience in a bit more detail as well. So exactly what Steve said on the previous slide applies to this slide here as well. So I won't go over that again, I would just encourage you to obviously apply the same information and advice.

The similar thing does also happen with the first aid section as well. I thought we'd have made the point by that point on that.

So, then, we move to page 5 and actually, this was a bit of a surprise for us. So the applications opened on the 1st of June and prior to the 1st of June, I was very much expecting some of those shorter character count sections would be more involved here. Where actually the Games organizers are simply looking at kind of a set of drop-down menus here.

And so, from a more general experience perspective, it's quite an easy form to fill in from that perspective. But what I would encourage you to do is to really have a think through what is it you want to try and get out to the Games, in terms of experience and trying to either build some of those skill sets or get some experience in different activities that you might not necessarily be accustomed to. You can select up to three examples of different activities or skills that you possess here. There’s a whole series of drop down menus, so I'd encourage you to go through, and have a look through properly. Then what you'll be able to say is your level of experience in that, and it goes from broadly interest, all the way to expert.

And so it's absolutely fine to say I'm just interested in. So I, for instance, have put I'm just interested in a bit of journalism. I've always been inquisitive about it, I've never really done anything about it in my own personal career and I’d love to have a little go if there was an opportunity to do so. Coaching I've put as just a beginner. I've done half a coaching qualification in my past, so I haven't anything necessarily to put any substance to it, so I’d very much say I'm a beginner level. Then I've done some work in my past around event coordination and operation so I've put myself as an intermediate. I've got some decent experience that I can draw upon. I would not, by any means say I'm an expert.

But, in essence, what I would say is it's absolutely fine to put down that you're just interested in all of them. Likewise, it's absolutely fine to put that you're a beginner or intermediate in or just a mix and match based on what you're generally thinking about. All I would encourage here is for you to have a look through which the skills and experiences that are available, what do you want to primarily try and get out of this? Because they'll obviously use this as a basis, as to how they allocate roles later on down the line. Finally as you'll see at the bottom of this page as well, there are going to be team leadership positions and things like that so most of the time, most roles will be working in small groups or teams and there will be designated team leaders and again it's just a yes or no, as to whether you want to be considered for a leadership position or not. Obviously they're not for everybody so don't feel obliged to say yes. They need less leaders, than they need team members so it's not like you're going to be ruling yourself out if you say no to a leadership position.

Page six again, I was expecting a lot more in terms of write a description as to what preferences you have, but as you'll see, it is a series of drop down menus and just simply stipulating what your preferences are.

So, again why I encouraged at the very start of this session for you to have a look through the roles and the function areas that they're going to be looking for volunteers is that then when you come through to this section, you can say you have no preference and then that kind of makes it null and void essentially and you just get to the next page. But you can also put some preferences down and, as you can see, you can select up to three, and you can choose a variety of different things. There's going to be some roles which are going to be very public facing, there's going to be some roles which are very back office, where they’ll look for people to do more administrative work, for instance, so whatever kind of preferences you've got, think about that, when you make those choices.

You'll be asked for things like venue preferences as well, so have a think of where you'll be this time next year. So, for instance, I live in Edgbaston. I actually live opposite the cricket ground so the cricket ground would be great for me, the university would be great for me, and so I would put down city venues in Birmingham, as my as my first choice. Different people might have different preferences in that regard. I know quite a few of our staff live in places like Warwickshire and there's quite a few events happening over in Warwick and Leamington Spa as well. So have a look through and make sure that you're really clear about what your preferences are. But again, it shouldn't actually take you too long to complete that section of the of the form. In terms of the actual elements of it, it's all that kind of pre research that you might want to do just to make sure you're really clear on what the options are.

And then the last few pages if I'm being honest a very, very quick and simple, easy. The first one is around that privacy statement that you typically get whenever you fill in an application form like this, and what are the forms of communication you want from the Games. So again that's down to your personal preferences. Then the final page is where you essentially press the submit button by pressing the save button. You can you don't have to press save there, go back and go through and amend anything that you're not happy with. That is the application. We were expecting a little bit more, but you know, I'm quite pleased that they made it a very accessible form, they've made it a very easy form to complete and hopefully allows people to put their preferences down, what they're interested in and then some more of that detail can come out at later points in the in the application process.

Steve could I just ask you to before you have to dash off, would you mind just having a look at the Q&A where we're at. I know we've got a few questions and just rattling through some of those for me. You're on mute, sorry Steve.

Stephen Bayles: School boy error there, my apologies. Yeah we have five questions in there at the moment, are you able to see them as well Phil? Fantastic I'm really going to have to go now so, would you be able to relay the questions to Phil please.

Phillip Heighway: Yeah, no problem.

Stephen Bayles: Superb, thanks a lot everybody and good luck with your applications.

Phillip Heighway: Okay first question, if you click yes to pre arrival, does that mean you wouldn't be able to help when the Games are open?

Phill Williams: No, so essentially if you press yes to the pre-arrival button, it means that you volunteer your time for the pre arrival stuff, as well as the in Games stuff as well, it’s just an optional extra.

Phillip Heighway: Next one, for those who have applied through the university, should we wait to hear back the results before we decide to apply for the general application in case we don't get through the university process?

Phill Williams: Yes, so it's a really good question, thank you to that person has put that in. If you have, I would just hold fire before you apply via this. You're going to have to fill in this application form anyway for those that applied to the internal roles that we promoted to the students. What I would say, though, is if you've applied, the team are hoping to review all the applications, this week, so you should hear by the end of this week. Or nothing later than the start of next week, so you should have plenty of time to make sure that you can still put in that code which essentially kind of gives you an extra layer of competence in terms of when the Games organizers know that you've kind of been given that opportunity and you've gone through another form of assessment so. It should only work in your favour so that's why I would urge you to hold fire. So just to confirm, if you've applied to the internal rolls through the university canvas course, you will still need to complete this form. But the advantage of doing that and if you're successful is that, you can get the opportunity to insert that code. If you're unsuccessful, of course, still apply via this form.

Phillip Heighway: Okay next one just a couple more. If you apply without the guarantee you will be able to do it, due to placements or a year abroad or being offered a job, can you pull out of the application at any time?

Phill Williams: I would imagine that there will be opportunities for you to withdraw. I've not heard anything specifically but yes of course, circumstances do change I'm sure that will be a factor in the Games organisers organisation of this volunteer and program. They'll probably over subscribe, because some people's circumstances will naturally change, for a variety of different reasons. All I'll just say is once you know you cannot volunteer, make sure you inform them. So if you do get offered an opportunity, and then your circumstances change just make sure you communicate as soon as you possibly can.

Phillip Heighway: Where do you find the pre-research you've talked about?

Phill Williams: So I'm going to say share some links. I will do that shortly, I'll share those on the screen.

Phillip Heighway: Also, what we've mentioned in the other workshops is actually look at previous Games. It was in Australia and it's also being here in Manchester and Glasgow as well, so I think a really good one is to maybe have a look at previous Games. It's not always exactly the same but you might find him some different roles and get a feel for the Games as well, and for what happened in those cities as well. What days will have training take place?

Phill Williams: We don't know specific dates. All we've been given is that, the application selection events will take place between September and December and then roles, acceptances will go out in January, On the current timeline which again is on the is on the volunteering site for the Commonwealth Games, it says all training will be delivered by April. And so I'm sure that once you get to that point, there will be further communications from the Games organisers in terms of when you would need to attend the various training days or in singular, day, for your particular role. But we don't know any specifics at that at this stage.

Phillip Heighway: Yeah, just on the back of that about will it be online - we don't know at the moment. I'm sure they'll be potentially planning for both but we've had no specific indication, whether there will be offering online alternatives. Normally what happens at these events is face to face days that they have so they can get a real feel for you. In current circumstances, that may change, so it might be that if you've got particular needs to have an online session, there is a volunteer email, that we will be putting up at the end and so email them directly to ask that question. If you help with pre-arrival events, does this count towards your eight days allowed for staff?

Phill Williams: I would say yes.

Phillip Heighway: I would also assume so as it is part of the Commonwealth Games event. As it is, it's not something different, so it would be that you're just volunteering in a different part of the Games so.

Phill Williams: And again, that will just be something for you to factor in the pre-Games again they've not been too specific, in terms of when the dates for that will be. I dare say there's going to be a lot of flexibility in negotiation with the various teams and when they are arriving. I would imagine that pre-Games period will be anything from what maybe two months ahead of it all, starting in July. So that might work for some people more than it will work for others.

Philip Heighway: Last couple of questions, is it students who can apply through the university or can staff as well?

Phill Williams: As part of the partnership agreement, the University has with the Commonwealth Games organisers as a sponsor - there were a certain number of roles allocated for students at the University of Birmingham, which is why we've had recently the two job opportunities which we've been doing internal applications for. That doesn't mean to say that in the future there won't be other opportunities that will be open to staff. We're finding out... and I'll be completely transparent here, we're finding out a lot of stuff as and when the decisions are made by the Commonwealth Games organisers. So it's really hard to kind of be too specific on. that. There may well be more opportunities for staff to help out in the build up to the Games. I would just say keep an eye out on various email threads that come out via the University in terms of when those opportunities arise. But there's still a lot of planning and there's still a lot of organisation on from the side of the Commonwealth Games team and so some decisions and things like that haven't necessarily been made yet and so there's still some of those finer details to work through. So all I'd just say is currently not at the moment, but it doesn't mean there won't be in the future.

Phillip Heighway: The last one, from Rosie, do you get free tickets or any other benefits for volunteering? You don't get free tickets, unfortunately. Because I think they'd be able to fill the stadium three times over, if they gave the free tickets away, but like we said that you do get free travel around the West Midlands and there is a whole benefits page on the Commonwealth Games volunteering FAQ section. There will be refreshments and things like that, as well, but it does go into to a little bit more detail on the website. But free tickets are unfortunately not available.

Phill Williams: Rosie, if I'm being honest that was the first question I asked and so I was just as disappointed as I'm sure you are as well. But no unfortunately there won't be free tickets. I would imagine that there might be some benefits for being at a Birmingham university like ourselves. Particularly as the university is a sponsor. I don't know but we might get a priority window in terms of buying tickets themselves, but who knows. I don't know at this stage. Don't quote me on that. But there might be some other associated benefits of it, but we'll have to wait and see.

So thank you for the questions. Feel free to keep submitting questions. I'm just going to finish off with just a few last top tips and to address a couple other questions that came up. As we mentioned, make sure you're using positive action language throughout to help yourself. So if you are putting in some of those extra details around specific sports experience or medical experience or first aid experience, make sure you're using positive language to help you. Obviously we've gone through a bit of the instructions, but make sure that you really thoroughly take that responsibility to read through those instructions yourself and make sure you're clear of what you're doing in that application process. Obviously, if you are having to write any extra material, make sure you spell check and grammar check those pretty thoroughly. Make sure you've got your ID and if you've got first aid certifications or anything associated with what we've discussed, make sure you've got those ready to hand, so you can put them in. And as one of the questions was earlier, I'd get your application in sooner rather than later, because there is no official deadline. But we've heard that they could close the window within two to four weeks even. And obviously it's the 8th of June already so you know I'd imagine it would be at least open for June, but then who knows, after that. So I'd just encourage you to complete those in due course. Don't think, oh I'll sort that out in August because it won't be open in August.

If you're a student and you're looking for a little bit of extra support, particularly where we can benefit in terms of some of those shorter paragraphs that you might have to put together, you're more than welcome to get in contact with us and to get someone to review what you've put together, if you feel that would be a benefit. Likewise, if you're a member of staff there's various LinkedIn Learning courses that you have free access to, and you can also access the materials that POD have got on offer around career development as well. And then finally, last two slides. One is just in terms of what's next. We've talked about the application window, there's no deadline, but make sure you get in [quickly]. There are then interviews and assessments at the volunteer selection centers which will be happening throughout September to December. Roles are offered in January 2022 and training is delivered by April 2022, but like I said earlier, we don't have any specific dates on those just yet. That's the link as to where you would find more details about all of that, but that's all on this page here for you. I've put here the Birmingham 2022 Games official website. That's where you can do all of that pre-research that we talked about in terms of what the roles are, what the benefits are, where the locations are, it's all on there. Ignore that canvas course, by the way, that's just for students that might have applied for some of the pre-roles that we've discussed already. You don't need to use that canvas course, but you can use the Intranet page that I've highlighted there for the University of Birmingham which is consistently updated in terms of what the latest news is and obviously what some of the opportunities are. And if you do have any specific questions, for instance, that we wouldn't be able to answer in Careers Network or UBSport that's specific about maybe your application to the volunteer programme then I would recommend that you contact and get that question answered by the team directly. We're here in an advisory capacity, we're not official members of the Commonwealth Games team. So I'll leave that slide up. I think a couple of questions have come through Phil on the Q&A.

Phillip Heighway: Yeah, I've just put all those links in the chat as well, so if you want to copy and paste them and I've put their email address. Do we only apply through the university for specific volunteering roles and through the official website for general ones?

Phill Williams: At the moment, unless you're one of the students that have applied for the two roles have been advertised at the moment, my advice would be to apply through the main portal that we've discussed today. If additional opportunities come through, then there will be an application process that will be disclosed at that time. As the two roles that we've discussed were only open to students, the only thing really you can do today is apply by the main volunteering page.

Phillip Heighway: Is there an age limit for volunteers, for example, can a 16 year old apply?

Phill Williams: I don't know.

Phillip Heighway: I know that one. Yeah, so it's 18 and over to volunteer. It is in the FAQs, but they will be running an under-18 version as well, so look out for that one if you do have nieces, nephews, children, who may want to [volunteer]. It will be slightly different but it won't be part of the main volunteering program on the day to day. That is for 18 and over.

Phill Williams: That's why we're double teaming this Phil, because you know that bit. I think there's one more that's come through.

Phillip Heighway: I think we just answered that one.

Phill Williams: Great stuff. Brilliant, so we've come to the end of the main piece of advice. Hopefully, you're reassured by the fact it's a very simplistic process to actually apply. But I would encourage you to do that background reading and make sure you're clued up. I can stick around for a couple of minutes, and if there are any other questions we're more than happy to answer. But otherwise I hope that's been useful and reassuring and has given you some clues as to what to expect. If I don't hear from any of you, I do wish you the best of luck with your application. What we're hoping to do later on, as we go down the process, is we will potentially look at delivering some workshops around event selection processes and some top tips around how to best prepare for some of those. Look out for those, we will communicate those out once we've got those organised and formalised in terms of dates and things like that. But otherwise, you're obviously welcome to get in contact with us if you do have any questions. Hopefully, this has been useful. I just got a thank you, so no problem. But yeah, Harriet, thank you that's very kind of you, but yes, and thank you, too, for you, for turning up as well. I'll just hold on for a couple of minutes, but if you've heard enough of my voice which I can totally understand then you're more than welcome to depart today but otherwise I'll just hang on for a couple of extra minutes, but thank you and thanks again for Phil and to Steve for support in the session as well.

Return to Volunteering in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games


Professional Services