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Olympics volunteering


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So I know there are some sceptics about how good or bad the games will be :) , but either way; I assume a lot of technical people are required to assist in the running and setting up of our industry related area of things.


I was thinking of applying online to be a 'Games Maker' to be one of the thousands of volunteers (70,000 in fact). Some of the job roles look quite appealing (as you would assume) and I'm not an incredibly sporty person so missing out on actually watching the games doesn't impact me, but there was nothing there that I really want, just things I would do.


If I was going to pick anything to do at the games, It would be to be involved with the technical side (be it lighting, sound, AV,) or probably more interesting at an event like this would be the TV department.


So here's the point of this post, Does anyone have any information about ways to get involved besides becoming a 'games member'. I'm not talking about paid work, I want to be involved. I just don't know who to go to.


Of course, do tell me if I have no hope, and would be better off filling in the application form on london2012.com. (I have until the 27th October)




Thank-you in advance for your help ;)


Note to mods: I didn't know where to put this (was torn between Training & Qualifications and the other general forums) so I thought I would post it here and you can choose if it should be somewhere else.

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On a gig like the Olympics it's pressure all the way. Sorry to disappoint, but the likelihood of them letting anyone without a few good years of experience onto a job like that is low.


Don't be put off trying however. But do be prepared for a lot of knockbacks





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As an inhabitant of a city that has hosted the Olympics - and before everyone get's their hopes up - it's pretty unlikely that anyone not already "in the club" will get any of the good jobs. Most of the senior and mid-level staff for Vancouver 2010 Ceremonies were Australians and Brits, not locals.... That doesn't mean that it doesn't create local jobs, but it does mean that the local jobs it creates are more heavily weighted towards the entry level.


But to answer the OP: Volunteers were a different matter. Many volunteers were doing some really cool stuff. (I particularly liked the look of the the job the guys who worked as "stand-ins" for the VIPs at the rehearsals got to do.) But how they decide which volunteer does what, I'm not sure. Maybe you should contact the volunteer people and ask if you can "direct" your volunteering experience?

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My wife is QDM working at Volunteer Centre Hackney - one of the main volunteer centres working with the olympics project.


Hopefully nobody minds me posting her reply here (she doesn't have a BR account)


Do both routes – follow up any contacts in the industry, but don’t rely just on this, as I would expect most people in that part of the Olympics to be paid.


Fill in the “Games Maker” form – once this closes on October 27th that’s it for getting onto the volunteer programme. And even that doesn’t guarantee you a volunteer place, they are expecting to be oversubscribed and for there to be a selection process. (When they first asked people to express their interest they had 100,000 people sign up.) But if you don’t do it you don’t have a chance.


The other thing to investigate is the “Specialist Volunteer” programmed, is they are looking for specific volunteers it will be as part of this programme (e.g. doctors, sports officials etc).




In terms of choosing your volunteer role this timeline might be of interest, the interview and selection events will be all about matching people to the right roles for them:


Games Maker timeline and selection events


8am 15 September 2010: generalist applications open


Midnight 27 October 2010: applications close


January 2011 onwards: short-listed applicants begin to be invited to a selection event


February 2011 – February 2012: selection events and all invited applicants will be interviewed


Late 2011onwards: offers made to successful applicants


February 2012: orientation training begins


March 2012: role-specific training begins


April 2012: distribution of uniforms and accreditation passes begin


June 2012: venue training begins.




PLEASE NOTE: I work for a Volunteer Centre, not LOCOG, but this based on information received from them and others involved.




One final thought – if you don’t already have volunteering experience I would recommend you get some ASAP, as this will make a good impression at the selection process (proving you keep commitments etc).


Tanya Turner

Quality and Development Manager,

Volunteer Centre Hackney, Unit 12-13 Springfield House, Tyssen Street, London E8 2LY

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To get involved with the broadcast side as a volunteer, you'll need to get yourself on a media degree - there's thousands of small jobs (like holding effects mics / cable bashing / runners) which in Athens were done by students. I know quite a few students went out to do similar stuff for the Beijing games.


The ceremonies will need LOTS of local crew, but they will almost certainly all be paid, and probably contracted through the normal crewing agencies.

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Bryson has hit the nail on the thumb completely. It is a closed shop to a great extent. Volunteers will be unable to select what they do or what areas they will work in. Technical jobs will rightly be filled on a professional basis and the whole operation run like an invasion, but for profit!


Off topic but a serious related subject; research released this week shows that visitor numbers during every Summer Olympics have always actually decreased in the host cities during games because "normal" tourism comes to an abrupt halt. Beijing lost 20-30% hotel occupancy all year long and Sydney even had a campaign with a strapline of; "Where the bloody hell are you?".


For London alone tourism revenue is predicted to fall by anything from £1Bn to £2Bn that summer. The European Tour Operators estimate a loss of 2.5 million visitors and cannot find hotel rooms now for 2012. Estimates of the loss to theatres and other entertainment venues because 2.5 million tourists will stay away and those coming here will go to the Games but not the West End have yet to be speculated upon. Natives will also stay at home to watch them on TV.


In terms of those working on the Olympics themselves it could be a bonanza but if it proves the last straw for theatres already on the brink, how worthwhile will 2012 be?

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I was also thinking of trying to volunteer for the tech side, as I will be 18 by the time it comes around. After looking at the volunteer website, I decided that the best way I could see would be to try to find out what company were running the LX, for example, in the opening ceremony and then get onto them asking for volunteer work during that time.


I couldn't see that you could really specify what you wanted to do from the website, and I think that I have a better chance volunteering via the company instead of via the volunteer service. I understand I will probably have a cr@p job, but its experience, it'll be fun, and it'll look damn good on a CV! :blink:


Out of interest, does anybody know who is doing sound, AV, LX etc for the games?



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To be honest, you might have a better chance through the companies, but you are still comparing values of zero.


Given the costs there will be in having anyone on site, (security, catering, accommodation etc.) there will be the minimum number of people to do the job. Which means competent, experienced people who can be relied upon when the brown stuff hits the whirly thing.


I doubt that it is public knowledge yet who is doing what, but the list of companies big enough to do an event on that scale is fairly limited, and if you don't know them yet, you are unlikely to be doing anything by then.


Tom (a freelancer confident he won't be in the Olympic Stadium, but hoping there will be plenty of ancillary stuff on the go that will be much less stressful!)

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I've applied for the technical / broadcasting areas with a fall back onto customer service. Hopefully I should be able to get some low level technical / broadcasting role, as I am commencing my study at Ravensbourne, on a FdSc Broadcast Technology Degree, of which I will have completed by the games. With the intention to start my final 3rd year BaHons in Broadcasting Technology / Systems just after the games.


If I don't get a low level technical role, I still hope they should give me a Customer Service role as I'm coming up to 3 years (5 by the time the games starts), with my current employer, JLP / Waitrose. Where customer service is key, whatever section we work on.


Well that's my Two Cents, I hope I get in, if I don't then I'll just have to go for my back up rout, and join the Met, as a Special.

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I also wanted to volunteer but was totally put off by the fact at the start of the games I will be 17, and by the end I will be 18!


Might still be worth applying though?


Aparently you have to 18by the 1st of January 2012. Best check the site for details.

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Lots of information and advice here ;) thanks!


I think I will look in to applying with the Olympics and also approaching places like the BBC asking if they could have any voluntary stuff anything's worth a shot! and I suppose whatever I end up doing there, there should be a nice working atmosphere!


James, please thank your wife for her very useful information! :)

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