As I write this, I’ve just completed 10 shifts amounting to 40 hours of voluntary work for the 2015 FIFA under 20’s World Cup. What a unique experience it was. The event was proudly held at the “Northland Events Centre” known locally as Toll Stadium.
I applied as a volunteer back in September 2014. It was easy to do online, where they captured all your personal details to carry out identity and police checks etc. In early Feb I was called up for an interview where my strengths and preferences were discussed with the aim of identifying the most suitable role from the numerous and various opportunities available.
There were lots of positions to be filled such as stadium dress, drivers, sorting and distributing uniform, processing accreditation, ticketing, and spectator services to name just a few.
Having volunteers was an essential part to making this event a success. In particular I was driven by the keen desire to be an ambassador for our country. I wanted to be a part of the team that showcased Whangarei as a place that can cater for and deliver such professional events to perfection.
Football is the world’s biggest sport and the World would be watching us! It was great to be involved, make the tournament a success and bring beauty and a special atmosphere to the four games held here.
I enjoyed my time making new friends and learnt new things especially around event planning and security. The training provided was online as well as via flexible group training sessions. Procedures were set out by way of clearly documented job cards.
Apart from game days – work shifts were flexible so volunteers could state online their availability and work allocations were fitted around your personal commitments. Volunteers got to wear and keep a smart Adidas uniform, food needs were catered for and contributions recognised with an after event party.
If there was one thing I wish would have been better, then that would have been an increased attendance on game days. I had hoped that more locals would have supported this event and ultimately our city.
The stadium is a real asset to our community and I hope it brings in many more events for the benefit of our city. If new facilities emerge and improvements take place around our place then it will contribute to more tourist dollars for our economy.
I “Love it Here”.