Games organisers begin interviewing 25,000 volunteers

THE biggest peacetime recruitment drive Scotland has seen is under way.

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Kim Atkinson and her team of 295 helpers will then begin sifting through applications
Kim Atkinson and her team of 295 helpers will then begin sifting through applications

Thousands of people have already filled in application forms to volunteer at Glasgow 2014, before the deadline at the end of the month.Behind the scenes, the Commonwealth Games recruitment team is preparing to interview 25,000 applicants. MATTY SUTTON spoke to volunteer interviewer team leader Kim Atkinson and her colleague Robbie Stewart to find out what they are looking for -

THE closing date for applications to be a volunteer at the 2014 Games is next Thursday and Kim Atkinson and her team of 295 helpers will then begin sifting through every form, whittling them down to about 25,000.

In April, the interviews will begin at a rate of about 1000 people a week, and they will continue until December.

The first successful volunteers will begin to hear in October what roles they have, but these will only be assigned when all potential candidates have been spoken to.

The majority of successful candidates will find out next December or January, but roles will be offered right up until the Games.

Ms Atkinson, who works as policy director for the Scottish Sports Association, said: "For the majority of roles we are looking for friendly, helpful people with great communication skills who want to make sure that everyone who comes to the Games – as an athlete, as a spectator or as a volunteer – has the best possible Games."

Ms Atkinson and her team of trained frontrunner volunteers – who help in pre-Games planning – will interview each candidate individually.

Each person will have an hour-long interview that includes 30 minutes of questions.

Designed to be informal, the first part of the interview will include a welcome and registration, followed by a briefing with general information about the Games and specific information about the function area the applicant has applied for.

Applicants will be given information about how the interview will proceed and a timeline of the recruitment process with advice on when they might hear if they have been successful.

There will also be a Make Your Mark session during the interview, which will give candidates the opportunity to express their enthusiasm and passion for Glasgow 2014.

Ms Atkinson said: "We see the whole process as being an opportunity for a two-way dialogue.

"It is an opportunity for us to learn a little bit more about the volunteers and, we hope, for them to learn more about Glasgow 2014.

"The interviewers are all trained and highly equipped individuals to make sure everyone has the best possible opportunity within the time available and to make sure we are giving them the opportunity to prove their passion and tell us about their skills.

"We also want to make sure we find the best possible opportunities for them within the Games."

Interview questions will be competency based and will cover subjects designed to find out whether the candidate is enthusiastic, passionate, a team player and has good communication skills.

There will also be questions related to the specific area the applicant has applied to work in.

The interview schedule has been designed to give the first interviewee the same chance as the last at securing a role.

Certain functional and specialist areas that require qualifications, such as medical and first aid, or drivers, will be interviewed in blocks.

Ms Atkinson said: "It does not matter when anyone is called to an interview, it has all been scheduled to try and make sure we have the best people.

"It is getting the right volunteer, in the right place, with the right skills at the right time."

Ms Atkinson, who has volunteered at local, regional and national level and is still helping at her local badminton club and is Lothian County Team manager for her badminton club, is keen to ensure a legacy of volunteering emerges from the Games.

She said: "There are 13,000 sports clubs in Scotland and 195,000 volunteers, so they are, without question, the lifeblood of sport in this country.

"And the volunteers for the Games will be the same, they will be the heart of the Games.

"In 20 years we will look back and think, 'Wow, look at the legacy.' I am sure the Games will change the culture and get more people more active more often and also change the culture to get more people actively involved in volunteering in Scotland.

"I think it is a very exciting time."

Robbie Stewart is one of the frontrunner volunteers who will also be interviewing candidates.

A volunteer football coach at Jordanhill Campus FC, the 29-year-old, from Glasgow Harbour, is keen to find people who are passionate about the Games.

He said: "I am a proud Glaswegian and want to make sure these Games are the best they can be.

"I am looking for people who will do Glasgow proud – happy, enthusiastic people who are going to be out there giving a positive image of Glasgow and a positive image of Scotland to the world."

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

CASE STUDY; MICHAEL DOUGAN

SECONDARY pupil Michael Dougan is hoping to play his part in the Games.

The 16-year-old, from Maryhill, attends Abercorn Secondary, a school for pupils with additional support needs.

He said: "I signed up to be a volunteer because I want to be able to put it down on my CV as something I have done. A couple of friends have also signed up.

"I think people with additional support needs should volunteer because they can learn from it."

Michael has been playing football for the past 10 years and plays in defence for his school team. He also takes part in a judo class every Thursday evening, through his school.

He is hoping to be based at the Emirates Arena, Parkhead, working behind the scenes, perhaps helping with security.

Michael plans to train as a mechanic when he leaves school and has already organised work experience through Enable Scotland's Stepping Up programme, which is designed to support young people with learning disabilities to learn about the world of work.

Michael said: "I am most looking forward to being able to say I have been to Glasgow 2014."

Enable Scotland is helping people with learning disabilities to sign up to be volunteers for 2014, including the free use of computers at various locations across the country and advice and help up to the Games

For more information call Enable Direct on 0300 0200101.

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