The Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 was a huge event in the West Midlands which brought people from across the globe together to support the incredible athletes who took part in 27 sports and 8 para-sports over 11 days, creating a buzz of excitement within the region.
14,000 volunteers gave their time up to help make the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 such a fantastic success and this included our Social Value Manager, Jayne Anderson who was allocated the role of Flash Quote Reporter at the games.
We caught up with Jayne following her time at the games to find out more about her role and experience.
What made you first want to volunteer for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022?
I decided to take the opportunity to apply to be a part of the commonwealth games collective of volunteers as it was a great opportunity to take part in a massive sporting event being held locally, which is viewed around the world and showcases Birmingham and the Midlands. I felt that it would be an opportunity to give back to the region where I live and work as well as work in a role that would potentially be something different to my day job.
What did your job role entail at the games?
I was based at the University of Birmingham, covering the hockey throughout the games. My role was a pretty intense one but also one of the best roles in the commonwealth collective I think. It involved me watching each hockey match, during which I made notes on who scored and played well, etc as well as researching the players on each team to find an area of interest to ask them about when I interviewed them after the match.
Once the match was finished I let the support team know who I wanted to speak to from either of the teams. All players have to walk through the Mix Zone, which is where all reporters gather from TV, Newspapers, On-line publications etc. Players don’t have to speak to the press if they do not wish to but are usually happy to. The support team would bring over the player or players I wanted to interview and I would use my research to pull together my interview questions.
In one of the first matches I covered, where Scotland won against South Africa, I learned that one of the Scotland players was born in South Africa but who now plays for Scotland. I therefore asked her what it was like to play against the country of her birth in the opening match of the games. I tried to get interesting angles such as this within the interviews as well as asking about the match itself.
Once I had interviewed the players I had to rush back to the press area and type in my interview and submit it to a system so that all the press can access the quotes to post them on social media and in on-line publications etc. This element of the role was intense with tight timings as they liked to have the quotes within about 10 minutes of the game finishing if possible.
Were there any particular highlights that stood out for you?
I was lucky enough to be working at the match when the England women’s hockey team won, which was on the same day that the Lionesses (England woman’s football team) won against Germany in the UEFA women’s EURO 2022 tournament. It was an amazing atmosphere to watch and an incredible day for women’s sport. I therefore used this as an angle when I interviewed one of the England hockey players.
How did the volunteer work make you feel?
The role was intense but rewarding and fun. It was like no other role I have done previously in my career or will likely ever do again. The team I worked with were all lovely and we worked really well together.
What skills have you learnt from your time there?
I utilised the people skills I already have within my Social Value Manager role, in order to create those relationships with the team of volunteers and the players, who we saw move through the rankings of their group throughout the games. I learned lots about what is required of reporters at these events and how to work well under the pressure to produce accurate and interesting quotes within minutes of a match finishing.
What was the best thing about volunteering?
The thing I enjoyed the most about volunteering was meeting all the different people along the way! The Midlands is such a diverse community with so many different cultures that feed into it to make it the amazing place it is and it was the perfect backdrop for the Commonwealth Games 2022 for these reasons.
I am proud to come from the Midlands as well as to live and work here and I felt proud to wear my Commonwealth Collective uniform throughout the games and be a person that the public felt they could approach on public transport, in the street and of course at the hockey venue to ask questions or just to talk to about the games, ask what my role was and tell me about what they had been to see and what they felt about it all.
At Willmott Dixon Interiors, volunteering lies at the heart of our core values and is all about giving something back to the people and communities in which we work. We are so proud of the great work that Jayne achieved and experienced throughout her time at the games and we actively encourage our people to take part in volunteering initiatives.
To support our people to do just that, we commit to giving up to 22.5 hours of work time per year for company organised volunteering activities and up to 15 hours for personalised volunteering activities to help our people get involved.
If you would like to work with Willmott Dixon Interiors, please take a look at our current vacancies here: https://www.willmottdixoninteriors.co.uk/vacancies/