It’ll take a lot of help to make EuroSkills 2020 happen
Staging a big event is impossible without the support of an army of volunteer helpers, like those who, time and again, offer to devote their time and skills to WorldSkills and EuroSkills events. We asked some volunteers – including some for EuroSkills 2020 next September – to explain why getting involved is worth their while.
When hundreds of competitors, thousands of skills experts and even more visitors come pouring into the venue at a EuroSkills or WorldSkills event, the support of many dedicated volunteer helpers is needed. At WorldSkills 2019 in Kazan, for instance, a huge team of 3,500 volunteers of all ages offered their services, without pay, to ensure that visitors, competitors and other people involved got to the venue on time and could find out everything they needed to know from information desks. They also made sure that the journalists in the media centre were kept up to date with the latest information every day. And they did much more besides. It is only with the help of so many people that an event of this size can run smoothly.
Totally dedicated volunteers
Three members of the Austrian EuroSkills team also volunteered for WorldSkills International at WorldSkills Kazan 2019: Christina, Natalie and Sarah spent around two weeks working at the event in Russia – and not all of them were first-time volunteers. Natalie Kainz, who is in charge of Member Support for the EuroSkills 2020 team, has gathered years of experience as a volunteer at various big events. What is it that makes her want to keep coming back, again and again? “I started volunteering for various events when I was at university, and have been involved in quite a few events since then. I remember that it felt really difficult to take that first step to register as a volunteer. I didn’t know what to expect and whether volunteering would be right for me. But, as anyone who has every volunteered will tell you, once you’ve been involved in one event you can hardly wait until you get another chance to volunteer again. There are no words to express how amazing it feels to take part in an event as a volunteer. For a few days you’re immersed in a completely unique situation, where a wealth of emotions and experiences overwhelm you. You have the opportunity to try out new things and get a unique glimpse behind the scenes. Sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone and venture into the unknown. That’s when you can benefit a lot for yourself personally. Having the opportunity to join in and to contribute to a project’s success by getting actively involved, is incredibly rewarding.”
Volunteers wanted: Why it is worthwhile to be on board as a volunteer at major events such as EuroSkills 2020.
What’s the best thing about volunteering for Natalie? “One of the biggest highlights for me is meeting fantastic people, like the volunteers who come from all over the world. There’s an incredible team spirit. Even today, I’m still in touch with many previous volunteers and I’m delighted whenever our paths cross again – possibly even at another event. After all, we’re all in the same boat during an event like this, and we go through some amazing times together. It’s a unique bonding experience. And you can continue to draw on such memories for a very long time afterwards. Everybody helps each other out, and you quickly get talking to people. It becomes a real ‘family’”.
According to Natalie, it is not only at the personal level that volunteering makes sense – major events such as EuroSkills 2020 also offer school or university students the opportunity to gain initial experience for their future careers.
And what would she advise anyone who is still undecided? “No matter which area you work in, you can always learn something. Big events always have a special atmosphere about them, which is difficult to put into words if you haven’t experienced it for yourself. That’s why I can only recommend that you give it a try and see for yourself!”
Be part of it – become a member of the Skills Community
Bettina Bulfone is in charge of coordinating and overseeing the EuroSkills 2020 volunteers. Together with our Head of Operations, Gerald Prabitz, she deals with recruiting volunteer helpers, works out how many people are needed and ensures that the volunteers are prepared adequately for their mission. She has also been a volunteer helper herself at a number of events. “It was during my time as a university student that I became a volunteer, as part of the Tyrol volunteer team,” she told us. “My first big event was the International Children’s Games. Together with several other university students, I decided just to give it a try and so we took the first steps together. After that, I volunteered at several other events such as the world tobogganing championships or ‘Crankworx’. It was a new and exciting experience every time. What I like best about volunteering is that you really feel that you’re part of a big community. You make new friends across all age groups and immediately find that you have a lot in common with other people”, reports Bettina.
Volunteering has also been a kind of “career springboard” for her: “If I had not started out as a volunteer, I would not be a member of the EuroSkills 2020 team now. It helps you to broaden your perspectives and take on new challenges, which in turn enables you to develop enormously, including on a personal level. My advice is to just give it a try, because volunteering really does give rise to some awesome experiences and memories.”
At EuroSkills 2020 we’ll be relying on the support of some 600 volunteers who will work in the various areas and will be able to put their strengths and talents to the best possible use. Whether they’re in logistics, in the media team or in hospitality – it is only with this army of helpers that EuroSkills 2020 can turn into an unforgettable event for everyone involved. Who is eligible to apply? You must be aged 15 or over, speak English, have a friendly manner and enjoy meeting people from other countries. You may wish your volunteering activity to be credited as an internship placement, in which case you can submit your application right away. We look forward to hearing from you and would like to say a big ‘thank you’ in advance, because without you, the smooth running of EuroSkills 2020 would not be possible. Be part of it!