Two Personal Best learners have scooped prestigious volunteering roles for this year's Olympic Games.
Richard Ross, 47, and Charlie Hefford, 27, both from Surrey, will each volunteer 10 days of their time during this summer's event. Richard will be based at Wimbledon and Charlie will be an events team leader at the Olympic Park.
More than 240,000 applied to the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Games Maker volunteering roles, and only 70,000 were accepted.
Richard said: "It's a dream come true. I have always felt that volunteering is up my street because I think I am good with people and helping others, so thumbs up to LOCOG for having us. It has been a long time waiting to find out but now I am really looking forward to it and can't wait for it all to start."
Charlie said: "I remember when we first found out we would be sitting interviews that only ten per cent of the 100,000 interviewed would get a role. There were ten of us sat around the table who had applied and I remember thinking, 'Oh no, only one of us here is going to get accepted'."
Richard and Charlie applied for the roles after completing SkillsActive’s Personal Best programme. The programme, which ended in March 2011, provided 6000 long term unemployed people with a level 1 award in event volunteering and volunteer experience as well as the chance to volunteer at the 2012 Games. About 15% of those that completed the programme applied to become Games Makers.
Lizzie Kemp, project coordinator at Sussex Downs College, which delivered the programme in Surrey and Thames Valley, says: “We are so excited for them at being given this lifetime opportunity and very proud to have been part of their journey.”
James Emmett, Head of Employer Engagement at SkillsActive, says: “Many of the people that took part in Personal Best struggled to find work because they lacked relevant experience or the right skill set. We’re proud Richard and Charlie gained the confidence, through our programme, to apply for this amazing experience. This will, I’m sure, be the start of great things for them both.”
Richard and Charlie, who are both residents of the Grange, a support centre that helps people with learning disabilities live independent lives, will complete an extensive training course this month to help them prepare for their roles.
To learn more about the projects and programmes SkillsActive is involved with see Projects and Programmes