On your marks to register as Games volunteer

UP TO 45,000 people are expected to be interviewed for 15,000 volunteer vacancies for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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Glasgow 2014 head of volunteering Val Mitchell, in the new Merchant City office
Glasgow 2014 head of volunteering Val Mitchell, in the new Merchant City office

And next week, the people of Scotland will have their first chance to get involved to become one of the event's thousands of Games Makers.

Organisers say around 15,000 people will be needed to ensure the sporting extravaganza is a success.

From Monday, anybody keen to get involved will be able to register their interest. But they will have to wait until mid January before they can apply for one of the available roles.

It is anticipated volunteers will be willing to travel from as far as Australia to be part of Glasgow 2014.

A large number of Olympic Games Makers enjoyed their experience in London so much they have said they are keen to repeat it in Scotland.

Deciding who will get the volunteer places will be a massive task.

It is being co-ordinated by Glasgow 2014 head of volunteering Val Mitchell, who joined the Games team as only its 15th employee.

She is a former PE teacher who worked with Sport Scotland before taking up her present role.

Ms Mitchell explained that the period for applying to be a volunteer will run until the end of February, when she and her team will review every application.

She said: "We will have to sift through every application, which is likely to be much higher than 45,000. That is likely to take the whole of March."

Volunteers must be 16 when they apply – there is no upper age limit – and be eligible to work in the UK.

They also have to pass a security check and be available to go for interview and attend training sessions. It is likely 25,000 people will be invited for interview between April and the end of the year.

An army of 300 volunteers are being trained to carry out interviews in a new suite of rooms next to the Commonwealth Games HQ in Albion Street. It is plann-ed to interview 15 people every hour with each interview lasting an hour.

Ms Mitchell said: "We have never in Scotland had to recruit that number of people so it will be challenging, but also rewarding."

Volunteers will be asked to list in order the three venues they would most like to work in and the three areas of work they believe would suit them best.

A huge range of different roles will be available – some highly specialised.

Ms Mitchell said: "We need doctors, nurses and physiotherapists and people trained in lifting on weights for the weightlifters. However, most of the roles are general. For example, we will need people to be the Clyde mascot at each venue, hundreds of drivers and people to direct spectators to the venues.

"We will also need volunteers to take Games VIPs round the venues and every venue will need volunteers to distribute radios and scoreboard runners.

"Our advertising campaign will be based in Scotland but there will be people who want to volunteer from other areas and we expect to get some international volunteers."

Those people lucky enough to be chosen will get general train-ing, training specific to the role they are allocated, and training on the venue where they work.

The first training event will involve a mass gathering of all 15,000 volunteers.

They will be given information on a range of topics incl-uding health and safety and how to wel-come people to Scotland.

But an important part of the exercise will be to build their enthusiasm about the Commonwealth Games and to thank them for giving up their time.

Ms Mithell said: "A lot of it will be to enthuse them, make them feel part of the Games and to let them know the task in front of them.

"Previous Games volunteers have described their experience as life changing and people who give up their time to volunteer for Glasgow 2014 can expect a wide range of personal and development benefits."

People who want to register their interest can go online from Monday at www.glasgow2014.com/volunteering or can go into the volunteer centre in Albion Street.

They will also be able to apply to volunteer in the same way from mid-January.

Ms Mitchell said: "If they come into the new centre we can help them complete the form, which is lengthy, because there is a lot of information we need.

"People who cannot get to the volunteering office can go to one of 545 libraries across Scotland and fill out the application form.

"Interviews will run between April and Decem-ber, and we want it to be an experience for them.

"These people will be giving up a lot of their time but it is a fantastic opport-unity, and we want them to be enthused about the Games."

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

IN 2002 the Commonwealth Games were held in Manchester and it became a hot topic on the ITV soap Coronation Street.

Busybody Norris Cole (played by Malcolm Hebden, above) applied for and was accepted as a volunteer to help out.

While his dreams of getting to assist during the events were dashed when he was placed at the entrance punching tickets, he set about his work.

Things took a sudden turn when Norris learned the person assigned to deliver a gold medal to the podium had fallen ill and (having brought a suit in case such a thing happened), persuaded the organisers to allow him to fill in.

After making a hurried call to Emily Bishop asking her to record the proceedings, Norris soon found himself in the stadium.

As he proudly delivered the medal and watched proceedings, his face was broadcast on national TV ... however luck was not on Norris's side. While the TV in the Rovers was switched on, not one set of eyes was on it with the regulars having become engrossed in a darts match, while the VCR ran out of tape seconds before Norris appeared.

As a result, he got none of the glory he was expecting upon his return to the Street.

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