Christmas is over and as exams set in thoughts of the long summer holidays keep popping into your mind to keep you sane through your revision. What shall I do this year? Go travelling to some far off country so that in September you can talk about your life changing experience and how you’ve really found yourself? Get a part time job back at the supermarket you worked in when you were at school? Or follow the advice of others and get that dreaded work experience?
Experience seems to mean everything to employers. It used to be only the chosen few who went to University and a degree was enough; now, if a 2.1 is all you have to your name by the time the mortarboard is on your head you will be lost in the alumni crowd with little to stand out. This is especially true for the charity sector. With budget cuts happening everywhere a charity will look to hire someone who has really shown their motivation and drive to gain that valuable voluntary experience outside of paid work and study.
So how about working for the largest charity dedicated to research into cancer in the world, Cancer Research UK, at one of the largest fundraising events in the UK? With around 625,000 women taking part in over 240 events across the country and a target of over £35 million to be raised in 2012, I can’t think of better event experience. It is of course the all pink, all ladies, Race for Life.
All over the country mothers, daughters, sisters, colleagues and friends all join together to take part in their local Race for Life, an event where people can walk, jog or run 5k or 10k, and show their support in raising funds for the vital research that Cancer Research UK does into the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of all 200 cancers. There are so many ways to get involved; you can be a runner, jogger, walker, spectator, volunteer or even be a member of the events team that delivers the events.
Last summer I did just that. As an Event Assistant I was there the day before the event being briefed by the Event Manager, and then on the day I had the opportunity to prove my worth. The Event Manager is just one person and they can’t be everywhere at once, and that’s where the Event Assistant comes in. The Event Assistants are their eyes and ears in given areas of the event and are tasked with overseeing the running of the event and looking after the wonderful volunteers.
The job is dynamic and the role changes with each event. You could go from organizing the distribution of medals at one race to communicating with commentators or coordinating course marshals at another, with constant communication over radio with the Event Manager to ensure a safe, well-organised event. Another wonderful part of Race for Life is the amazing people you get to meet and fantastic team you become a part of. The dedication of the staff and volunteers is nothing short of inspiring.
The volunteers you co-ordinate are fantastic, without them there would be no Race for Life. If you believe the Event Assistant role is not for you then why not consider giving your time and vital help as a volunteer? There are a number of different roles you can perform on the day, each providing a brilliant experience.
As for me, I loved every second of it! The adrenaline is pumping and for once you are given responsibility outside of the soft cotton walled university world for something that truly will make a difference. This role really is the most rewarding thing I’ve done.
Southampton Race for Life takes place with both 5k and 10k Race for Life events on Sunday 8th July 2012 at Southampton Common. For more information about taking part or volunteering please visit www.raceforlife.org
If you would like to apply to be an Events Assistant please visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/eventassistants
Applications open 3rd January and close 17th February.