What to expect as a volunteer

October has been a busy month, I got the job as Students Union Events Executive which means I am in charge of planning and running all of the SU events thats take place over this year. I just finished (last week) working with the RAG society to put on our Big Pink Pre Drink event in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month & am in the process of planning a pitch presentation for my group assessment in two weeks time, I also worked at this years 2011 Times Cheltenham Literacy Festival, an experience I hope never to have to go through again.

Todays blog is on the theme of what to expect as a volunteer, I have decided to try out the idea of a podcast that is just over 1 minute and gives you a taster of what you should expect as an Event Management Student entering the world of work experience and Interning.

Click the link below to hear it! (am trying to figure out how to embed in into this post!)

My Event World @ Event Magazine


There is a fantastic series of posts on event magazine.co.uk called My Event World, which features interviews with people working in the events industry. They are really interesting to read and not too long, my favourite question being asked is If there is one thing I have learnt its … the answers are so diverse and something to keep note of for all us event students. This is definitely a link you should go and check out. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s great event people are born, not made, it’s all about the right attitude, the right values, trustworthiness and commitment. (Amanda Litzow)
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s you can’t prepare enough for an event – however much you do prepare there are always things that are unexpected, which is what makes it exciting and different every time. (Tom Lechthaler)

Greenbelt Festival: A Work Experience Series: OFFICE WORK

This is a series of posts about my work experience at Greenbelt Festival over the summer of 2011. This series is here to help event management students gain an understanding of what may be expected of them when they start interning or undergoing work experience, it is also a series for anyone who is interested in how a festival is organised or specifically how Greenbelt is organised. I write these posts in a way that I like to write and so that it is easy to understand and follow. If you have any questions about this Work Experience series or about this blog send me an email caitlnkobrak@gmail.com.

OFFICE WORK

Everyone has to work their way up, from learning to drive a car to starting a new career, so don’t expect to get given the keys on the first day. When you are starting an internship at a company, regardless if it is in events, remember that you will have to show them what you can do and gain their trust; so when you are given a job that you may have done many times before, don’t be upset or annoyed, instead get on and show them what you can do. Also think if you weren’t there, who would be doing the job? They would.

When I started at Greenbelt I was originally given small jobs; making sure the Programming database was up to date, that contributors were not duplicated, that everyone had sent us their pictures and bio, however throughout the weeks I was given bigger jobs with more responsibility such as writing about each Trust Greenbelt project and designing the Trust Greenbelt leaflet to be handed out during Sunday communion. It took a few weeks to get to that stage because they needed to feel convinced I could handle it and because these small jobs had to be finished, everything I did helped and it didn’t matter how small they seemed.

I felt so much pride when I had complete a job and was able to tick it off, not only because I was able to start the next job but also because I was learning to do something new and learning that I could do the jobs I was being given. The relief and joy from knowing I could do these thinks is hard to describe.

Working your way through the small jobs to the more advance levels not only means you are able to learn new things or improve you abilities but it also gives you the chance to ask the small questions, the questions you may think sound stupid or idiotic. For example I learnt that the Bcc field, when sending emails, makes those emails addresses private – allowing you to send emails to loads of people without them having access to the other peoples addresses.

The more jobs you do the more confident you feel, I personally felt most useful and assertive when I came back for two days in August to help out before the festival weekend, because it was then that I realised how much I had learnt and retained. I was able to come back in and get straight to work which allowed everyone else to concentrate on their work without having to worry about me.

I am not saying that by the end of the summer I knew how to do everything or that I think I did everything to 100%, I made mistakes and found certain tasks very hard – and yes at times I was just staring at a computer screen trying to look busy because I was too afraid to ask for a little help. But there was a change from when I starting out on the 6th of June 2011 to when I finished on the 31st August 2011, a change in attitude and confidence as well as ability.

To check out the previous posts in this series click here. Also email me if you have any suggestions on posts you wish to read.