The applications to be a volunteer at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa have begun rolling in starting this past July 20th. This sounds like an interesting way to experience the event for anyone who couldn’t afford tickets. However, I don’t think that particular demographic was the intended audience.
The intended audience appears to be younger folks who want to experience the event but also want to gain experience in hospitality, working with foreigners, etc. And it seems that the program organizers intends for it to mostly benefit South Africans! There are 15,000 expected volunteers and FIFA has declared that 80% of the volunteer spaces will go to South Africans. What a master stroke! Not only does this reflect well on the tournament organizers and FIFA for providing more opportunities for South Africans to be a part of the games, but it presents an amazing opportunity to essentially provide job training to 12,000, mostly young, South Africans.
As a recent article in BizCommunity.com states:
“From ushering people to their seats, to assisting the media and foreign-language speakers, welcoming people at the airport and driving guests around, it is the volunteers that actually make the tournament happen,” explained Dr Jordaan.
Link to the full article can be found here: http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/147/38082.html
The experience will be invaluable for young South Africans as they will receive a great deal of training prior to the month long event. And they will be able to apply that training over the course of a month! Areas that volunteers will be working in are: accreditation, marketing, media, protocol services, spectator services, transportation, administration, environmental services, welcome and information services, information technology and telecommunication, language support, rights protection programme, logistic services, hospitality and ushering services and volunteer management.
I see this as a win-win opportunity for South Africans and FIFA alike. I hope that some sponsor or corporation will also see this as an opportunity to either hire from that pool of trained volunteers or expand on the training experience after the games are over.