2022 Commonwealth Games Volunteers: Roles, Benefits, FAQs

Birmingham City has been revving for the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the largest sporting and cultural spectacle ever to be held in the West Midlands.

The Birmingham City Council has been prepping infrastructure while the Birmingham Organising Committee handles delivery aspects of the Games. 

But there’s something else that all major sporting events always have (Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, or otherwise) — and that’s its volunteers. 

So, let’s find out what Commonwealth Games volunteers do, the benefits of volunteering, and answers to some other burning questions you may have

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What Do Commonwealth Games Volunteers Do? (25 Exciting Volunteer Areas) 

What Do Commonwealth Games Volunteers Do? (25 Exciting Volunteer Areas)
What Do Commonwealth Games Volunteers Do? (25 Exciting Volunteer Areas)

The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games had over 300 volunteer roles to be filled by 13000 volunteers. The volunteers are known as the Commonwealth Collective, and are expected to reflect the diversity of the West Midlands and the modern Commonwealth. (Applications for the volunteer programme closed on August 17, 2021.) 

The roles include positions during both the pre-Games and the Games itself, and can be anything from venue preppers, athlete hosts, first aiders, and courtside assistants. 

During application, volunteers must be 18 years old by January 1, 2022, and can pick their preferred areas of interest. There is also a young volunteer programme for 14-17 year olds, so that youngsters can be involved.

Volunteer time is defined as a minimum of eight shifts, lasting an average of 6-10 hours per shift. However, to understand the sheer scope of work needed at an event such as Birmingham 2022, here’s a closer look at the 25 areas that offer volunteering roles:

  1. Accreditation: Help manage the accreditation system — distributing access passes to thousands of athletes, delegates, officials, and media.
  1. Anti-doping: Help ensure the integrity of sporting action at Birmingham 2022.
  1. Arrivals and departures: Guide people to and from accommodations as they arrive and depart.
  1. Catering, Cleaning and Waste: Supply food and drink to everyone at the Games, and cleans and removes waste at the venues and Athletes’ Villages.
  1. Ceremonies: Work on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Alexander Stadium (which are broadcasted over world news to a global audience.) Some roles demand formal experience or skill, while others simply require the enthusiasm to learn.

Athlete hosts, for example, will welcome and marshal athletes backstage during the Athlete’s Parade.

Fun fact: The Birmingham City Council asked Army athletes from the Midlands and Wales to conduct their athletics events within the city — to test Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium readiness for the Commonwealth Games.

  1. Contact Centre: Support the volunteer recruitment programme and manage calls and emails from the public.
  1. Cultural Programme: Help out at the huge cultural celebration running alongside the Games, aimed at showcasing the region to its global audience.
  1. Event Services: Volunteers attached to event services work to provide fans with an efficient, safe, and enjoyable experience.
  1. Fleet Services: Provide transportation for athletes, VIPs, and Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs), and are responsible for the Games vehicles’ life-cycle.
  1. Games Family Services: Maintain the relationship with the Commonwealth Games Federation, CGAs and others.
  1. Hospitality: Responsible for day-to-day hospitality for sponsors and commercial guests.
  1. Live Sites: Volunteers help at free live sites around Birmingham, allowing the public to engage with the Games.
  1. Marketing and Communications: Volunteering in the press office.
  1. Media Operations: Provides facilities and services for the media, photographers, and broadcasters with access to the latest news.
  1. Medical Services: These require health care professionals who help deliver treatment and ensure wellbeing where needed. 
  1. Results Technology Services: Help with the scoring and timing of events and distribution of results.
  1. Sport: Volunteers (courtside assistants, for example) help meet the needs of athletes and technical officials — an essential role in the delivery of all sports at the Games.
  1. Sports Presentation and Medals: Responsible for the creative production and timing of sessions for sporting events.
  1. Technology: Responsible for all things IT — computer equipment, service desk support, IT service management.
  1. Uniforms: Help with the design and distribution of staff and volunteer uniforms.
  1. Venue Management: Collaborate with other departments, partners, and clients to ensure a safe, successful event.
  1. Venue Technology Services: Ensures venues have all required technology. Venue preppers will need to ensure technology such as telecoms, timing, and scoring are ready.
  1. Venue Transport: Volunteers help people travel between Games venues.
  1. Village Management: Volunteers help oversee the four Athletes’ Villages.
  1. Workforce: Volunteers help with workforce check-in and engagement, and deal with daily queries.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will commence from July 28 to August 8, 2022, and all successful volunteers have received their role offer, and their roles assigned to them. 

But you may wonder why a person may choose to volunteer. 
Let’s find out.

Fun fact: The Queen’s Baton Relay begins its final leg of the journey to Birmingham City on July 4, 2022, after touring global locations in the modern Commonwealth. Its planned 25-day visit of regions throughout England includes North Warwickshire and Lake District, culminating in Alexander Stadium on July 28, 2022.  

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What Are The Benefits Of Commonwealth Games Volunteering? 

Joining the Commonwealth Collective Volunteer programme at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Volunteers are considered the “heart and soul” of the Games experience for the thousands of athletes, fans and officials expected to attend the sporting event.

While the immediate benefits include training, free transportation to the venues, and a uniform that can become a souvenir after the Games, the entire experience is much more than that. 

Volunteering presents the chance to be part of something special and the opportunity to give back to the community. Taking on a volunteer role at the Games offers a unique work experience that will stand out on any CV for future employment opportunities. 

Not only that, members of the Commonwealth Collective get to meet new and equally passionate people, and gain new skills. It helps engender confidence and build a real sense of achievement. 

Volunteers from other events (like the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games) loved the experience so much that some have become repeat volunteers at Birmingham 2022.

Now, let’s go through some FAQs on Commonwealth Games volunteering.

Fun fact: The National Lottery Community Fund supported young people in learning new skills, helping them access volunteering and employment opportunities offered by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. This was thanks to the West Midlands Combined Authority, which successfully bid for National Lottery funding in 2021.

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FAQs On Commonwealth Games Volunteers 

Here’s everything else you may want to know on volunteering at the Commonwealth Games and their answers.

1. Can You Volunteer For The Commonwealth Games?

Applications for the 2022 Commonwealth Collective Volunteer programme closed on August 17, 2021. Successful volunteers are expected to complete 1 million hours of volunteer time. 

To briefly understand the entire volunteering process, here’s a recap:

  • June 2021: Applications open
  • August 2021: Applications close
  • September-December 2021: Interviews at Volunteer Selection Centre
  • January 2022: Role offer delivered
  • April 2022: Training delivered
  • June 2022: Uniforms distributed
  • June-July 2022: Accreditation collected
  • July 2022: Games and volunteer shifts start

2. How Many Volunteers Are Needed For The Commonwealth Games? 

13000 volunteers are required to make up the Commonwealth Collective at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. 

The Games launched its search for volunteers on June 1, 2021, during Volunteer’s Week. Applications were not limited to only people around Warwick District or the Black Country borough, and extended to those further afield.

To help highlight the event, local athletes volunteered at sports clubs and community organisations and across the West Midlands. Rugby sevens player Heather Fisher, para-swimmer Ellie Simmonds, and boxer Galal Yafai appealed to folk in Warwick District to join the Commonwealth Collective. 

Fun fact: The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games had about 15,000 volunteers. The 2012 London Olympic Games had 70,000!

3. Do Commonwealth Games Volunteers Receive Training?

While most volunteer roles don’t require any formal experience, full training is provided where necessary. 

Shortlisted volunteers get to discuss their applications and preferred areas during the interviews at Volunteer Selection Centre. Successful candidates then need to attend these training sessions:

  • Orientation training
  • Venue-specific training
  • Role-specific training
  • Leadership training (only for some roles)

4. Do Commonwealth Games Volunteers Have A Uniform?

Yes. All Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games volunteers receive a uniform before starting volunteer time.

5. Are Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Volunteer and Ceremonies Volunteer Performers The Same?

No, they’re different. A Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Volunteer can’t apply to be a 

Birmingham Ceremonies Volunteer Performer as well. 

The Ceremonies Volunteer Performer role isn’t part of the wider Commonwealth Games volunteer programme — and has different requirements and time commitments.

6. Can People With Accessibility Requirements Volunteer At The Commonwealth Games?

Yes, all are welcome to volunteer and be part of the Games experience. Volunteer roles can be reasonably adapted to ensure a person with accessibility requirements can volunteer, 

7. What Are Other Volunteer Opportunities For The Commonwealth Games?

In Birmingham, the Canal & River Trust offers opportunities for volunteering during the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

More than 1.5 million people are expected to visit the city during the sporting spectacle. As such, volunteers are needed in several roles to help out in different ways:

  • A Canal Games Ranger would engage with visitors to the towpaths. 
  • A Games Enabler may lead wellbeing activities along the waters. 
  • A Games Taskforce Volunteer would help clear pathways or maintain old structures.