Full steam ahead at Hadleigh
With Natwest Cricketforce only a few short weeks away, Hadleigh Cricket Club decided to get one step ahead of the game by throwing their hat in the ring to become the chosen recipient for a day long programme of voluntary activity undertaken by young BT Openreach Apprentices.
Headed up by BT’s Scott Savill, Apprentice Development Manager for London and the South East, and travelling from locations including Cambridge, Norwich, St Albans, Huntingdon, St Neots and Chelmsford, the seven young volunteers undertook a wide range of tasks.
The group manned the tractor to mow the outfield of the Suffolk-based club, repaired some woodwork and paintwork on the tooling and equipment lock up and scoreboard, then cleared a couple of tons of grass cuttings and groundwork debris.
As Savill, who manages a team of 38 apprentices across the region, was keen to point out, competition to become a BT Apprentice is stiff. The 32,000 applicants in 2010-11 had to be whittled down to just 250 places.
As an employer that takes its Corporate Social Responsibilities seriously, BT invests heavily in volunteering activities for its young apprentices and each of whom is encouraged to participate in at least three days of voluntary activity each year.
Savill noted that the apprentices respond well to having the opportunity to take part in varied volunteering opportunities and that the scheme is a great way of seeing the apprentices outside of a work context.
“It’s good for team building and encourages a great deal of banter,” he said.
The young volunteers were ably supported by the club's chairman and groundsman Gary Girling and Roy Plumbly while fellow club stalward John Smythe also lent a hand.
The club boasts a healthy volunteer base but as Girling pointed out the bulk of the work gets done by too few – something the club is already tackling head on as they seek to appoint a volunteer co-ordinator.
The club has a thriving junior section and under the leadership of Val Gladwell is set to start a girls' section.
Suffolk’s VCricket Co-ordinator Paul Martin, who facilitated bringing BT and the club together, attended the event and whilst speaking to the volunteers noted that all of the apprentices had taken part in a number of voluntary schemes prior to becoming a BT employee.
John Hopewell (23) is regularly involved in various activities at his rugby club. Takunda Shumba (29) had been involved in supporting SCOPE, the disability charity supporting children and adults with cerebral palsy, whilst Chris Read (20) had experience of mentoring schemes.
Joel Patterson (21) had been involved in event support and management and Bradley Harrison (20), who is relatively new to volunteering, found that his experiences with BT have left him keen to get more involved in similar activities.
Eleanor Byford (20) had recently volunteered as an invigilator at the National Indoor Junior Rowing Championships in Enfield and is also an Ambassador for a BT schools project which aims to excite and encourage young people to think about careers in the field of engineering through the S.T.E.M programme (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Richard Miller (20) is also a S.T.E.M ambassador and has taken part in Crucial Crew - a national safety programme aimed at schoolchildren.