A YEAR AS VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT

When myself (Joe Junkovic) and Jess Stansfield both started as Sport Volunteer Assistants, I really didn’t expect the job role to be as varied and rewarding as it has been. In term 1 there was a focus on recruitment and engagement with potential volunteers. We were responsible for flyering, poster campaigning and social media marketing to promote volunteering to students at NTU.

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After students started to sign up to the many different volunteering roles such as coaching in schools, photography and community volunteering, myself and Jess greeted all the volunteers during the first meeting. This was highly beneficial as it helped us to become familiar with the volunteering team. The meeting also highlighted key aspects of the volunteering programme such as safeguarding and different scenarios and how to deal with them.

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In the build up to Christmas, we helped to officiate and administer a number of primary school football and basketball tournaments. These tournaments were competitive, fun and entertaining. Children were awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals at the end of the day and were also given a tour of the new NTU tennis centre. Children were given time to practice and have a rally on the new refurbished courts.

From Christmas to Easter, we were responsible for continuing to promote volunteering across the University in an effort to sign up as many people as we could to the volunteering programme. We also helped our line manager Stacey Trainer (Sports Volunteering Coordinator) to monitor the register and see how popular the volunteering programmes had been amongst the students. There were also meetings between ourselves and the Sport Champions, which helped both job roles to understand and find out what the other had been up to in an effort to increase sport participation and opportunity for all students.

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In our final term as volunteering assistants and we have been involved with exciting University events such as the recent BrackFest at the Brackenhurst Campus. Brackenhurst was beautiful with lots of green spaces, music, food, games, and a daunting rock climbing wall that we were encouraging students to conquer.

We were responsible for getting students to sign up and have a go at climbing. We also handed out freebies such as the popular pink NTU t-shirts that were all gone within an hour, flip flops and tote bags. Students were also given NTU ‘Play For Fun’ leaflets that detailed the current sport and volunteer opportunities the University are offering. There was also a real focus throughout the day on promoting the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. Therefore after students had a go at rock climbing they were asked to take a picture of themselves in the ‘This Girl Can’ picture frame. Pictures can be seen here.  This was the first time either of us had been to Brackenhurst and it really helped to promote volunteering to students who we won’t have had the opportunity to work with before, and who may not have heard much about the available opportunities

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As our time as sport volunteer assistants and students of NTU comes to an end, we have both learnt a number of valuable skills and grown as people throughout the year. I have further developed my social skills through numerous volunteering events and showcases where interaction with students has been key. I have also developed my administration and data entry skills through updating volunteering registers and spreadsheets. My marketing skills and knowledge has also significantly improved through volunteering stalls, social media and promotional activities. All of these skills have added to my CV and will hopefully make me more employable in the future. The next step for myself is studying for a master’s degree in International Business at Montpellier Business School.

By Joe Junkovic (3rd year Sports Science & Management Student).

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