Volunteering in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is coming to campus! As an Official Partner of Birmingham 2022 there are some unique opportunities for our staff, students and alumni community to get involved in the action. You can apply now to join Birmingham 2022’s ‘Commonwealth Collective’ of volunteers.

Volunteering at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The opportunity

Birmingham 2022 are recruiting and will train more than 13,000 volunteers to support the delivery and operations of the Commonwealth Games. You could take one of these places!

Volunteering can be fun and has been shown to enhance wellbeing. The Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the team delivering an International sport event that will have a lasting social impact & legacy.

The volunteer roles are many and varied, with something to suit every interest. There will be opportunities to volunteer at venues in Birmingham, the wider West Midlands and London.

There will be two kinds of Games volunteer – generalist and specialist. Each successful applicant will be assigned to a specific role which will significantly contribute to the success of the Games:

  • Specialist volunteers will have specific existing skills or qualifications that are needed for them to complete the role – for example, sport or medical training;
  • Generalist volunteers will not need any special skills or qualifications but will be passionate about making a difference and about being part of the team who make this the best Games ever.

All volunteers will receive full training to prepare them for the role they’ve been recruited to perform.

Students

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to volunteer at a home Commonwealth Games at the very centre of the action. Roles will be split between generalist positions as well as those ring-fenced for students with specific skills. Birmingham 2022 expect to receive more applications than there are places so make sure to put some thought into and apply early.

Volunteering can have a very positive impact on your future job prospects. You would be demonstrating your commitment to the Games, along with developing invaluable employability skills such as communication, team work and organisational skills. Volunteering is also a fantastic way to gain practical experience, which will help you to stand out from the crowd.

There is some further information in the FAQs section further down the page.

Staff

To mark the fact that this is a once in a generation event in our city, and we are a key partner for the Games, we are keen to make volunteering accessible to our colleagues. We want to encourage staff to volunteer and to help us create an exciting Games on campus and in the city. To help our colleagues get involved with the Games, we will give you up to four days of paid leave (inclusive of the one day a year already allowed) where this is matched by you in an equivalent amount of annual leave. For example, if you ask to take four days’ annual leave to volunteer, the University will match this and provide an additional four days’ paid leave.

Apply

The 2022 Commonwealth Games Volunteer programme is now open (opened on 1 June 2021). We recommend you apply early to increase your chances of securing a place.

If successful at the first stage of application, the selection process will include attendance at a recruitment selection event, between September – December 2021.

Careers Network support

To help support you with your applications, Careers Network recently ran a series of workshops that provided information, advice and guidance as to how you can maximise your application, and give yourself the best possible chance of being a part of the Games.

Don’t worry if you missed this! A full recording of the webinar is on this page. Also, if you are a student or graduate you can also utilise additional support from Careers Network to develop your application. This includes booking into one-to-one Application Advice appointments via Zoom with one of our Advisers.

Commonwealth Games Volunteering Programme Workshop (Video transcript)
Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 banner with the words: 'Join the collective - apply to volunteer, 1 June 2021'

FAQs

Please note these FAQs are constantly being updated as more information becomes available, if you do not find the answer to your question below check back regularly or visit the Commonwealth Games website.

Whilst the University are a sponsor and partner of the Games, we are not involved in the organisation or the recruitment for volunteers, this is being managed by the Games organisers (Birmingham 2022).

Volunteering & commitments

When are the games? 

The competition is held between 28 July and 8 August.

Semester 2 will end on 24 June 2022, and the Commonwealth Games will run from 28 July – 8 August 2022. (Please note that accommodation is not provided and those wishing to volunteer will need to ensure they have organised somewhere to stay over the summer period.)

Where are the games being held?

The University are hosting the (outdoor) hockey and (indoor) squash competitions in the Sport & Fitness club (O7 on campus map), using the Vale as an athlete’s village, and providing training venues in the sports facilities. There are also a number of other venues hosting the games.

Why should I volunteer? 

Volunteering can be fun and has been shown to enhance wellbeing. The Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the team delivering an International sport event that will have a lasting social impact & legacy.

Where will I be based, and will I have a choice? 

When applying to become a volunteer, applicants will be able to state their preference about where they are placed, but this won’t be guaranteed.

Roles

What are the requirements to become a volunteer?

Volunteering is a unique opportunity, for which many people already possess the skills for. Applicants must be passionate, dedicated and recognise this unique opportunity to be part of the Games. In addition, applicants must be:

  • 18 years old as of 1 January 2022
  • Be available between 28 July – 8 August and be able to complete 8 hour shifts (average shift length, with a minimum of 8 shifts)
  • Able to speak and read English or BSL
  • Be willing to accept the role and venue offered
  • Attend and complete training (which is likely to be around half a day, but will be dependant on the role)
  • Eligible to volunteer in the UK
  • Agree to pass relevant security and background checks

There will be some specialist volunteer roles, such as first aiders, where specific experience or qualifications are required. These requirements will be given within the role descriptions on the Birmingham 2022 website.

Will training be provided for the roles?

Comprehensive training will be provided by the Birmingham 2022 Games organisers.

How do I apply to become a volunteer?

Please go to the Birmingham 2022 website to apply for a volunteer role, the applications will be open from 1 June 2021. If successful at the first stage of application, the selection process will include attendance at a recruitment selection event, between September – December 2021.

Will there be flexibility in the shift timing?

Each ‘shift’ is expected to be for a period of 8 hours (on average). The competition schedule will start from 6am with the last shift finishing at 23:30. It is our understanding that there will be 11 hours between shifts (which you can volunteer for). Individual arrangements will need to be agreed with the CWG organisers.

I have a disability, can I still apply?

The Birmingham 2022 organisers welcome applications from individuals with disabilities and/or additional needs. They are committed to making reasonable adjustments to ensure these opportunities are open to all.

At the Games

What transportation is available?

Volunteers will be provided transport around the West Midlands during their volunteer shifts only.

Will meals be provided?

Volunteers will be provided meals during their volunteer shifts only. If you have a specific diet requirement you will need to discuss this with the Games organisers (if selected to volunteer).

Will clothing be provided?

Volunteers will be provided with an appropriate uniform.

FAQs for students

How might volunteering support my future job prospects?

Volunteering could have a very positive impact on your future job prospects. You would be demonstrating your commitment to the Games, as well as developing invaluable employability skills in communication, team work and organising. Volunteering is also a fantastic way to gain practical experience, which could help you to stand out from the crowd.

What happens if I am invited to a volunteer interview or training when I should be attending a class?

Please try to select an option that is outside of your study commitments. If there are no other available options, there will be no requirement for authorisation to be sought to attend an interview or training session; however, you will be required to notify your School in advance. However, International students will need to apply for Authorised Absence when volunteering for the Games.

Will there be any programme implications, e.g., impact on learning outcomes, extension to coursework etc.?

Whilst the University encourages students to engage with this opportunity, and with other volunteering opportunities, your studies should always take priority. Special dispensation will not be made for students who are taking part in volunteering for the Games, and this will not be a valid reason to seek an extension, deferral, or Extenuating Circumstances.

What should I do if have an exam and I am asked to attend a volunteer related event?

If you have an exam on a day when you are asked to attend a volunteer related session for the Games, then your exam must take priority. Volunteering for the Games will not be a valid reason for seeking extension, deferral, or Extenuating Circumstances.

I am an international student, am I eligible to volunteer?

Before you volunteer you will need to consider if you are volunteering or undertaking voluntary work. If you are   undertaking voluntary work then you will need to establish if you have a right to work in the UK (see next question).

What is the difference between volunteering and voluntary work? 

For Student route visa holders there is a clear difference between volunteering and voluntary work (unpaid employment).  If you hold a Student route visa (previously Tier 4 (General) visa), then you will be able to undertake volunteering activity.  However, you must be careful as if your activity is classed as voluntary work instead of volunteering, any time spent undertaking voluntary work will count towards the maximum number of hours you are allowed to work under your Student route visa.  

How do I know if the position I have been offered is volunteering or voluntary work? 

There are a number of factors to think about when considering whether a particular activity constitutes voluntary work or volunteering are:  

  • Voluntary workers will usually have contractual obligations to perform the work (for example to attend at particular times and carry out specific tasks) with the employer being contractually required to provide the work – the contract does not have to be written - the worker is usually remunerated in kind.
  •   
  • Volunteers do not have a contract - they must not be a substitute for an employee, and they must not be doing unpaid work – for example, receiving payment in kind (although they are sometimes reimbursed for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses).  Volunteers usually help a charity or voluntary or public sector organisation. 

You should check with the organisation offering the volunteering opportunity whether it would be regarded as unpaid employment. 

I am an EU/EEA national and I have pre-settled/settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) can I undertake volunteering activities?

Yes. If you have been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS then you are eligible to undertake paid employment, volunteering activities and work placement/internships without any restriction. 

I am an international student and I am a dependant of a Points Based System (PBS) migrant can I undertake volunteering activities? 

Yes, if you are a dependant of a PBS migrant then you are eligible to undertake paid employment, volunteering activities and work placement/internships without any restriction.

Can I volunteer if I am a student but not on a Student route visa? 

If you hold a Short-term study visa, you can volunteer, but you cannot do voluntary work as you cannot undertake any paid or unpaid work, work experience or work placements during your studies in the UK.  

If you hold a Standard Visitor visa (purpose of undertaking study for less than 6 months), you can volunteer provided it is for a registered charity and will be for no longer than 30 days in total. Volunteer work can be full-time or part-time but must not exceed 30 days in total.  Visitors are not permitted to undertake voluntary work (please see definition above).  As a visitor you are not permitted to work in the UK or undertake a work placement or internship (including as part of a course of study). 

I am an international student with a Student route visa, can I undertake voluntary work? 

A Student route visa holder can do voluntary work if they are permitted to work, but this work and any paid work must not exceed the total number of hours you are permitted to work during term time.  For example, if you are permitted to work 20 hours a week during term-time and you have paid work of 15 hours a week, you cannot do more than 5 hours voluntary work in the same week.  

University’s working restrictions  

The University can impose tighter restrictions on the number of hours you can work and you are expected to abide by the University regulations. It is recommended that you check if your School has any particular restrictions on its students. You should adhere to the University restrictions on working during your studies.

How do I know if I am permitted to work in the UK? 

Your entry clearance vignette (yellow visa sticker in your passport) or your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) indicates if you are allowed to work in the UK and the maximum number of hours you can work per week. These are normally restricted to: 

  1. 20 hours per week for students studying at undergraduate and above; or 
  2. 10 hours per week for students studying below undergraduate level   

What day do I start from to calculate the numbers of hours worked each week?

A 'week' is defined by the UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) as a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday. This means that you must ensure that in any week beginning Monday and ending Sunday you do not work more than your permitted limit. 

I have a Student Route visa when am I able to work full time?

If you are an undergraduate student you can only work 20 hours per week during term time and, full time during  official University vacation periods and after you have finished your studies until your visa expires. 

FAQs for staff

I am a member of staff, can I have time off to attend a recruitment selection event, training, or a volunteering shift?

Yes, wherever possible you will be able to take time to attend a recruitment selection event or training. You will need to take annual leave or unpaid leave to do so and you should discuss this in the normal way with your line manager; the University will offer some paid time off for the volunteer shifts during the Games, should you be selected.

I am a member of staff, how do I apply and how will this affect my current role?

Please see the details on how to apply in the section on Applications above. Please have a conversation with your manager before you apply; wherever possible managers will support staff applying, subject to being able to run their service. Should you be successful you will need to discuss with your manager what time you can take off during the Games.

Will I have to take annual leave to volunteer? 

Given this is a once in a generation event in our city, and we are a key partner for the Games, it has been agreed on an exceptional basis we will allow paid leave of up to a maximum of four days (inclusive of the one day a year already allowed) where this is matched by you in an equivalent amount of annual leave. For example, if you ask to take four days’ annual leave to volunteer, the University will match this and provide an additional four days’ paid leave. If you take two days’ annual leave, the University will match it with an additional two days’ paid leave.

Will this count as one of my volunteering days offered by the University?

Yes, the University will provide up to four days’ paid leave, as long as this is matched by you taking annual leave and this is inclusive of the one day already allowed.

Do I need to speak to my manager before applying? 

Yes, please mention to your manager that you would like to apply as he/she will need to ensure they can still run their service. If you are successful your manager will discuss with you how it will work in practice.

What happens if all my colleagues also want to volunteer? 

That is fine – it is unlikely that every person who applies will be successful, although we very much hope that many of our staff and students will be. Where a number of people in one team are successful there will need to be some discussion about running the service effectively during the Games. As a matter of last resort, we may have to suggest one or more people give up the opportunity but are assuming that this would really be very rare indeed.

If I am successful, what implications does this have for my line manager and colleagues that I work with? 

The University will still be open during the Games, and busier than it would normally be – for that reason it is important that our services run smoothly and consideration will need to be given to those requirements when you first apply and if you are successful.

I’m a sponsored employee - can I still volunteer?

Yes, voluntary unpaid work is permitted for our employees on a Tier 2 (general)/skills worker visa. If you need any further help or advice please contact our immigration team via the HR Portal.

What happens if I get a volunteering slot and leave the University before the Games?

That will be a matter for you to discuss with your new employer.

What happens if I get a volunteering slot and I am then unable to fulfil it?

That will be a matter for you to discuss with the Games organisers.

I am a member of staff who is competing in the Games, how does this affect my current role?

If you are an elite athlete competing at the Games you should discuss this with your manager.

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