How to score a job at the Commonwealth Games
This April, the Gold Coast held the 21st Commonwealth Games- the fifth time it has been held in Australia, and the first time it has been held in what is technically a regional city. Coordinating 71 nations and territories, with a combined 6,600 athletes, the event required the coordinated planning of three major sporting management associations and state and federal government. The workforce of 15,000, called Game Shapers, completed over one million working hours over the course of the 11 day event, and we spoke to three contributors to those work hours.
What was your role during event time?
Troy: I was a Village Welcome Centre Coordinator. It was a two part role, involving ensuring the smooth processing of all athletes and team officials with reference to security, accreditation, and transport. Part two was operations, it involved rostering, training, and retention of the Welcome Centres’ volunteers.
Bridget: I was in the transport team, managing the VIP drivers. The role was called ‘Fleet Depot Workforce Manager’. It involved coordinating the transportation of officials to and from events.
Louis: I was the Deputy Venue Logistics Manager at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
What were you most looking forward to while working at the Commonwealth Games?
Troy: I was looking forward to meeting all kinds of new people and working with them on a day-to-day basis, in particular, the athletes and other volunteers. My role consisted of relationship building with officials from each association, so I got to interact with them a fair bit. The purpose was to process all the athletes as quickly as possible, and to help get them settled in at the Village.
Bridget: For me, I was really hoping to expand my professional network. I really wanted to meet different people from within the industry and make connections. It was such an excellent opportunity to learn and grow as a manager. There was no way I could turn that down.
Louis: What I was looking forward to was very specific. I was very interested to see how we would turn a completely green site, with next to zero existing infrastructure, into a world class hockey venue. It was amazing to see how many different types of people it took to make it happen.
How did you secure the position you have?
Troy: A colleague at my previous job reached out to a friend they had who was the Village Planner at the Games. I had a skype interview, and that was that.
Bridget: I actually got contacted by a recruiter of the Games, after being found on LinkedIn. I was sent a position description, and after I said I was interested, an interview was set up for two days later. The offer came through the following day.
Louis: I have experience in a variety of roles within the events industry, and I think I was successful in my application because of that. In particular, I was the Sports Coordinator at the Australian Masters Games, which I think prepared me for working at the Games.
What advice would you give to current students looking to one day work at a major event like the Commonwealth Games?
Troy: I would recommend voicing your interest to your colleagues and friends, especially if they’re in the industry. You’ll never know if someone has heard of a role or perhaps has a contact that could really help you out, unless you ask.
Bridget: My advice to anyone wanting to further their career in the events industry is to give everything a go. Utilise who you meet and don’t give up. Stay passionate and keep fighting for what you want. You have to earn it!
Louis: I would say, never feel as if you aren’t good enough for the job, you will learn along the way. It’s always worth applying, you never know exactly what the recruiters are looking for…could be you.
Volunteer and staff member opportunities are being advertised by all kinds of events, all the time. The variety of roles that are available is vast, and the benefits of gaining practical experience will continue to be an invaluable contribution to your resume, and ultimately improve your employability. Staying motivated and not giving up when searching for opportunities is so important, and this is why an organisation like Event Workforce Group Academy can be such a useful resource, bringing upcoming events to your attention and providing information on things like position descriptions, tasks and hours involved. However you go about searching for roles, it is obvious from this years’ Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Game Shapers that the experience is beneficial, educational, and fun.