Kyle Brownless, 27, may just seem like your typical 3rd year Sports Science student from Fife, but he’s not – he also volunteers at his local cycle club and is about to do both a course in timekeeping and photofinish – we managed to grab 10 minutes with him to find out more about it all.
How did you get into volunteering in cycling?
“I started volunteering through university as part of my Active Schools placement in 1st year, however in 2nd Year we got to pick our placement; and that was when cycling came up. I started off doing a Bikeability course in Dundee, almost 2 years on and I now volunteer at the Discovery Juniors Cycling Club in Dundee, have volunteered at bigger cycling events such as the Youth Tour of Scotland and I am about to do my timekeeper and photofinish training. I never used to be involved in clubs when I was cycling, but now I am!”
So what are the benefits of volunteering?
“For me it is all about networking, and the free experience I was getting. However it is great being a volunteer because there is less expected of you, you don’t need to be an expert and those you are working with expect you to ask questions. You can ask as much as you want and learn as much as you want without being annoying! It is the best way to learn. However, there is a time commitment attached to volunteering – this is only a small part, I always like to look at the big picture as the benefits definitely outweigh that.”
Describe the perfect volunteer (without describing yourself!)
“You need to be willing to learn, outgoing and not afraid, and you definitely need to be up for a laugh. I like being in new environments, and it has definitely helped me build a network relevant to my course.”
Advise someone who might want to volunteer in cycling.
“Don’t be afraid to get in touch with someone who is already volunteering, or with your local cycling club or Scottish Cycling. Contact details can be found on the relevant website and I have personally never been turned away, and never been met with any negativity. Sports clubs want you to get involved, and they are always on the lookout for volunteers. It helps to volunteer in your own sport, but you don’t have to as there are lots of different roles, and training. Everyone should volunteer a little – spread the load of responsibility.
Any parting thoughts...
"Don't wait for the opportunities to come to you. Contact clubs and ask if you can help out. Everyone has a degree nowadays and it's not really enough to get a job, you need real life, relevant experience as well and the best way to get that is to get involved by volunteering."
International Student Volunteer week celebrates all student volunteers, and runs from 22nd - 28th February 2016. If you fancy volunteering in cycling, student or not, please email email@example.com