Interviews for the UEFA EURO 2012 volunteer programme have been completed as staff, with 5,500 positions to fill, have sifted through a record 23,965 submissions from 142 countries.
The interview process began on the first weekend of September when 628 applicants, hailing from as far afield as Venezuela and Nigeria, were interviewed in Kyiv and Warsaw. Since then the likes of heavyweight boxer Vitaliy Klitschko, Ukrainian X Factor judge Igor Kondratyuk and Polish rock star Krzysztof Skiba have helped put potential volunteers, whose ages range from 17 to 80, through their paces in all eight host cities.
The Local Organising Committees (LOCs) invited 12,100 people for interviews and in a show of gratitude to the volunteers who gave up weekends and hours of their time to help recruitment, a series of 'thank you' events are being held this month. In Kyiv, for example, the team met Kondratyuk, before being serenaded by 2004 Eurovision Song Contest winner Ruslana.
Ukrainian volunteer, Iryna Malysheva, says it was well worth the effort. "When I decided to become a recruiter for the UEFA EURO 2012 volunteer programme my friends were surprised: 'Why bother?' they asked. But I had no doubt it would be a unique experience. And now I understand that those three months in the UEFA EURO 2012 volunteer project represent the best time of my working life!"
One 20-year-old Polish girl obviously has similar ambitions of volunteering itself. The 17% of applicants from outside Poland and Ukraine were given the option of doing interviews online but she decided it would boost her chances to be there in person so she returned to Warsaw – from Australia.
Next step: Training
Around 5,500 volunteers will support UEFA's full-time staff in 20 areas of operation and will work at official UEFA EURO 2012 sites such as stadiums, airports and hotels. Names will be finalised by the end of the year and successful applicants will undergo training from 21 November to May 2012, encompassing a general programme and job-specific instructions. Some 270 will assist at the final tournament draw in Kyiv on 2 December.
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