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Case Study - John Bailey

18 year old John Bailey tells us how volunteering has shaped his future career plans.

Name: John Bailey
Age: 18
Role: Sports Presentation and Event Volunteer   

At the age of 16, the LEN Women's European B Water Polo Championships 2009 provided me with the first taste of work in the British Swimming Events Team. Here I worked alongside Amanda Nugent – a friend from City of Salford Swimming Club where I have trained all my life – filming all the games and providing up to 8 videos per day to be shown on the big screen prior to games and at half time. It was by chance that the Sports Presentation Manager, Andrew Marvin, took me under his wing and invited me to be the announcer at the 2009 British Gas ASA National Age Group and Youth Swimming Championships at Ponds Forge.

An amazing two weeks in Sheffield decided my fate as a regular on the team and made me realise that this was actually something that I wanted to do in the future as a career.

My next event turned out to be probably one of the biggest so far. Duel In The Pool was aired live on BBC 2 and I was the Field of Play Co-ordinator for the start end of the pool – more specifically training the Athlete Kit Box Carriers at the Manchester Aquatics Centre. I met all the GB team as well as Michael Phelps and Nick Thoman from USA – one of the highlights of my life!

2010 proved even more successful after announcing at the British Gas Synchronised Swimming Championships. May 2010 at the Paralympic World Cup saw me take the role of Field of Play for the first time. This event was the very first time that I felt really part of the Event Management Team.

From summer 2010 to spring 2011, I attended several training days at Sportpark in Loughborough on the British Swimming Volunteers Programme. These events brought me together with people my own age across the country who also wanted to get involved in volunteering. It was great for me to share my knowledge and experience with these other aspiring volunteers and let them know what really goes on behind the scenes at events. During this time, I have spent a lot of time with Andrew Marvin at several events, site meetings and production meetings in order to learn about the role of Sports Presentation Manager.

The best week of my life so far came at the British Gas Swimming Championships in March 2011. Across the 9 days at the event, I was the Field of Play Manager – but delved into Sports Presentation and editing for the production company Startline. I now look to the rest of 2011 and 2012 – with a major hope of working in the Aquatics Team for the Olympics and Paralympics.

I’ve recognised the opportunities volunteering is opening up for me – the chance to work in industries that I could have only dreamt about a year or so before; the chance to meet my biggest idols in the sport; but mainly the opportunity to work with the most amazing people I have ever met. Although TV Production and Event Management is now something I want to pursue as a career. 

I would not enjoy the events half as much without the amazing people I work alongside. Whether the staff are paid or not, everybody values each other’s qualities.

Although I am still only 18, I have been given the opportunity to run these world-class events in my team which only shows the amount of responsibility and pressure the team think I am capable of handling – which nobody undermines. This is what I love about volunteering!

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