Friday, October 13, 2006

Entertainment Needs Volunteers

Volunteer workers are rife within the entertainment industry, from those individuals whose belief in a cause motivates them into giving up their time in order to support it, to those who wish to gain valuable experience through work based learning. Graham (2003) created a typology of volunteers based upon their motivations to work, and the benefits that they can offer to the host organisation. These include discoverers who want to develop skills and knowledge, leisure seekers who see volunteering as a hobby, and organisers who lead and instruct (Graham, 2003).

There are a plethora of events within the entertainment industry that utilise the help of volunteers from small scale ‘local festivals’ such as the Kirkstall Festival in Leeds, to major international music festivals such as Glastonbury. At both of these very different events, there are an army of volunteer workers who are working to help in the smooth running of it. At the Kirkstall Festival, bar staff and stall holders may be working to support the community of which they are a part, at Glastonbury litter pickers may be working in order to gain free entry into the festival. Whilst motivations for volunteering vary, the valuable contribution that this workforce make is vital both economically and to the very survival of a number of smaller-scale entertainment events.

At the forthcoming ‘Abbey Dash’ 10km road race in Leeds, several Entertainment Management students from Leeds Met have volunteered to assist as race marshalls, their motivation simply being the want to learn ‘on the job’ some of the requirements of a person who may have to deal with aspects of public guidance, crowd control, and health and safety issues. In Graham’s typology these students are ‘discoverers’ (Graham, 2003).

From February 2007 until the end of the course in June 2009, Entertainment Management students are required to undertake work based learning for 80 hours per semester, some of this will be as ‘discoverer’ volunteers. If you would be interested in offering one of our students the opportunity to learn in the work place please email me on .

Source: Graham, M. (2003) An exploration of volunteering support within the National Trust for Scotland. (industry report) Edinburgh, National Trust for Scotland.

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