StudentNews_ChristopherUEFA

GCU student has experience of a lifetime working as a UEFA volunteer  

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 16:19:00 BST
(Pictured Above) 3rd year Digital Security and Forensics student Christopher Winters
(Pictured Above) 3rd year Digital Security and Forensics student Christopher Winters

A GCU student (and football fan) has had the exciting opportunity to volunteer with UEFA, and even got the chance to fly to Italy as part of his job! 

3rd year Digital Security and Forensics student Christopher Winters decided to apply to be a volunteer for the European Championships 2021, which saw games take place in Glasgow during the summer. Working in the Accreditation Centre, where he was responsible for issuing security passes, Christopher loved his experience and decided to search for more UEFA volunteering opportunities.  

After searching online, Christopher saw that UEFA were looking for volunteers to help out at the UEFA Nations League games in Italy, and decided to grab the opportunity. He said: “After helping at the Euros, I thought “I really enjoyed this” and went onto the application portal and saw some vacancies to work in Italy. I thought “Why not?” since University was online and realised that I could study whilst in Italy. 

After that, I ended up going to Milan a couple of weeks ago for the Nations League! I was there for 9 nights, and it basically included working all day. I got some time to look around Milan, but it was pretty intensive.” 

He added: “I worked as what is known as a UEFA Ceremony Maker, so I was working on the pitch with the big country and Nations League banners for the opening ceremony before the matches.  
 
We were in a very privileged position because we were the very few people that were allowed to be actually on the pitch, but not just that – being in front of all those fans at the game! It was electric to be honest, the atmosphere was something else. You get to witness being in the stands at a normal game on a Saturday, but it is totally different getting to be in the middle of the pitch and seeing it from all sides! 

I’m a football referee, so if I can ever get to the top level then I would love to travel the world to work at games, but I’d like to still volunteer until then because it’s an amazing experience. To be able to travel to different countries, you’re getting a holiday and it involves football – it’s the best of both worlds!” 

After such a positive experience, Christopher highly encourages other students to try volunteering whilst at University. He said: “For one thing, it’s great for your CV. Not just that, but it allows you to have experiences that you wouldn’t be able to have had you not decided to volunteer.  

Volunteering for UEFA for example; it gives you the opportunity to work behind the scenes of these massive tournaments and it gives you a totally different perspective of how they work. You get to do things that a regular fan wouldn’t get to do. I got to meet Gordon Strachan at the Accreditation Centre at EURO 2020! I even got to meet some really high-up figures of UEFA at the rehearsals of the Nations League. These are experiences that you wouldn’t have dreamed of as someone just being in the stands at a football game on a Saturday.” 

He added: “I would recommend to anyone to volunteer for anything! I’m a football fan so I decided to volunteer for something I was interested in, but there’s always opportunities to volunteer for something. It’s just really good experience to have, it means that you get to do something that you wouldn’t usually do.  

Sometimes it can be outside of your comfort zone, and that can be a good thing! It’s totally worth it and I really recommend trying it” 

Find out more about volunteering opportunities on the GCU Careers website. 

 

By Rachael McAlonan          

Got a SCEBE or GSBS story? Email me at Rachael.McAlonan@gcu.ac.uk or connect with me on social media