Marc Ritchie, Technical Officials Development Manager with England Athletics, reports on Havering AC's officials and volunteers training day.
Earlier this year Havering AC’s officials and volunteers took part in a training day with the aim of supporting officials who needed a refresh after the COVID-enforced competitions break or further training. The day was also a chance to help train volunteers to support and assist the club’s officials on a competition day.
The feedback from all the attendees was extremely positive with the session being informative and an opportunity to learn alongside others by sharing ideas and questions. Thanks to Rachel Kerr and the Havering AC Sub Committee of Trevor Wells, Kevin White and Mark Bishop, many of the enthusiastic volunteers of the training day approached the club wanting to continue the learning process about officiating.
The club wanted to support the volunteers in transitioning their enthusiasm from the volunteer’s day into a qualification and becoming part of the friendly and supportive officiating family by attending an official’s course. All volunteers were supported in completing the short steps to registering and completing their official’s course and qualification by the experienced officials involved.
After gaining their level 1 qualification, the support and communication between the new members of the officiating family and the more experienced officials did not stop there. The club has a WhatsApp group to keep in contact with the newer officials, to provide a platform to ask questions, share their experiences and top hints/tips for their journey as an official.
This has proved invaluable as all the newer officials have gained so much confidence, knowledge and feel a key part of the officiating family and within the club/events they attend. All the new officials have been supported by the experienced members of the officiating family at all stages of their officiating journey. Every individual has been able to learn and develop their experiences at their own pace, though being able to share their experiences together in a supportive and relaxed environment has proved to be the most invaluable element of the journey.
Havering AC are keen to share their experience and learnings from this process and two clubs in surrounding area are already looking to set up similar volunteer days. Essex are also supporting the officials’ day for clubs next year in March and are looking to include other disciplines within this event. Letting the volunteers learn in a relaxed environment is very important and also provided the options of progressing with the officiating pathway, volunteering or just keeping active and involved in the sport.
- Read more officiating news from England Athletics