Understanding the hidden engine of mega events: exploring the expectations, experiences and benefits of mega events for volunteers and temporary workers

At the launch of the volunteer programme for the London 2012 Olympic Games Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 organising committee highlighted that ‘Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Olympic games’ (BBC, 2006). The volunteer workforce, along with the additional workforce that is provided by numerous temporary staffing agencies to cope with the surge in demand for workers within and beyond the Olympic games are integral components to the success of mega events. 

 The overall aim of this project is to develop an in-depth understanding of two key groups within the workforce that are crucial to the successful delivery of mega events: volunteers and temporary workers. In particular it seeks to address a number of research objectives:

  • To understand the expectations, experiences and benefits of participating in mega events for volunteers and temporary workers, and the differences between these two groups.
  • To explore the benefits of undertaking volunteering or temporary work during mega events.
  • To compare and contrast the experiences of volunteers and temporary workers at both sporting and cultural mega events.
  • To compare and contrast the experiences of volunteers and temporary workers at mega events in different national contexts. 

This research will seek to generate impact by writing up research findings to be submitted to high quality journals around the topics of skills, employment and mega events legacy. The findings will also be communicated in a public lecture on the experiences of cultural and sporting events for volunteers and temporary workers to be delivered at Coventry University. A podcast discussing research findings will be produced to host on the Carnival website. In doing so, this project seeks to disseminate finding to range of audiences from academics, stakeholders related to mega events and the public. 

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