Interviews of the 4,600 applicants in the volunteer programme continue
5,000 APPLICANTS FOR 3,000 PLACES
The volunteer programme’s team – composed of Samuel Hallifax and his assistant Thais Guiheneuf – and their 40 volunteer recruiters have already held more than 1,500 interviews in the last four weeks: around 400 at the CNOSF in Paris between 12 and 23 November, another 500 at the Maison du Cheval in Caen, and around 600 by telephone for applicants who were unable to travel to Caen or Paris.
The profiles of these recruiters vary: some are committee presidents in the COREN (Normandy’s Regional Equestrian Committee), others are officials from the French Equestrian Federation, and some are volunteers who worked at the test events last August.
40-year-old Stéphanie is one of the latter. She so enjoyed working as a volunteer at the Eventing competition at Le Pin National Stud that she wanted to be involved in the project to recruit the 3,000 volunteers who will work with members of the Organising Committee during the main event. Like her 39 volunteer colleagues, Stéphanie holds around six informal interviews per day: half face-to-face in Caen, the other half by telephone if the applicants live too far away to travel to an interview. These meetings last around 30 minutes, including a 20-minute chat and a 10-minute review. This time is important, says Stéphanie: “Taking the time to meet with these people is essential, given the assistance that they are offering to provide for the Games. During this interview, we talk about the event and we reassure the applicant; this is not a job interview, just a chat between two volunteers! We talk about the different posts available, each person’s skills and experience, and together we try to match them with a job that best suits their wishes and our requirements.”
Whatever their age, gender or horse-riding expertise, all applicants have one thing in common: they all want to help out at the world’s greatest equestrian event. “It’s extraordinary to see our applicants’ enthusiasm,” says Samuel Hallifax. “They come from all over France – Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Toulouse, etc. – and even from abroad. We have met with people from England, Holland, Belgium… It’s really encouraging to see these people make such a long journey for an interview!”
And it is a good job that the applicants are motivated, as there is still a long way to go before the Organising Committee selects the 3,000 future volunteers. Samuel and his team have more than 1,100 interviews scheduled between now and February 2014, perhaps even more if we include any new applicants*and the 1,000 volunteers who have not yet accepted an interview slot**. This will be followed by a long period of analysis so that each application can be carefully considered before the 3,000 volunteers who will take part in the event are selected.
VOLUNTEERS FROM THE 2013 TEST EVENTS : PLEASE BE PATIENT
The 680 volunteers who took part in the test events in August 2013 will automatically be allocated a post for next year. When the interviews have finished at the beginning of next year, they will be sent an email*** asking then which post they would like to occupy during the Games. They will have the choice of carrying out the same mission as in 2013 or requesting a different post. The Organising Committee will take their request into consideration and will ask some of these volunteers to come back in January or February for an interview.
The 320 applicants who were interviewed in May 2013 to be volunteers for the test events, but were finally not selected, will not have to attend another interview.
3,000 VOLUNTEERS FOR A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE
The 3,000 volunteers shortlisted for the 2014 Games will receive their post and timetable between the beginning of March and the end of May 2014. These applicants will only be offered one post. If they refuse the post offered, the Organising Committee may not be able to offer them an alternative.
As a general rule, these volunteers will hold a wide range of missions – reception, communication, transport, technology, security, etc. – and each one of them will have a hand in the event’s success. Nevertheless, Samuel is keen to remind us that not all volunteers will be close to the action: “Not everyone can tighten girths for Kevin Staut before the CSO change-horse final. But rest assured: this experience will be unique, and thanks to their commitment, their skills and their smile, every volunteer will be at the heart of the event. They will go home with many great memories and, after these 15 days of festivities and exploits, will be able to say: ‘I was there!’”
Accommodation for the volunteers will not be provided, but the Organising Committee will help them all to find somewhere to stay. In order to do this, an online platform – similar to “couch surfing” – will be set up from March 2014 to put volunteers in contact with inhabitants of Normandy who wish to act as hosts during the competition. For any volunteers who do not manage to find accommodation via this platform, the Committee will offer affordable prices on group accommodation and campsites.
In order to sign up to the programme for a chance to be one of the 3,000 volunteers who will take part in the Games from 23 August to 7 September 2014, click here.
* The 250 people who signed up to the volunteer programme after 1 November will receive their interview date via their account at http://benevoles.normandie2014.com/ as soon as possible (late December – early January).
** 1,000 applicants have not yet accepted an interview slot proposed by the Organising Committee. If you are one of these applicants and you have difficulty accessing the volunteer pages, please check your junk mail inbox and contact us by email at the following address: [email protected]
*** We suggest that all applicants check their junk mail inbox and sign into their account, as emails may have been identified as junk mail.