The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is set to bring one of the largest multi-sport events in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic Games to the Midlands. It has brought a host of different opportunities for the general public to be involved, including the chance to join the Commonwealth Collective and be one of over 14,000 volunteers helping to bring the Games to life.
In this second blog post from our Birmingham 2022 volunteers, we meet Grace Evans who tells us about her role and what she’s most looking forward to at the Games.
Tell us about your role at Gowling WLG.
I am a first year trainee solicitor and I am completing my second seat in the Intellectual Property (IP) team, having started my training contract with Gowling WLG in September 2021. It has been a great time to do a seat in the IP team, as I have also had the opportunity to get involved with the brand enforcement project for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Why did you choose a career in law?
It was actually a careers questionnaire that I did when I was in Sixth Form that led me to law – I had a lot of skills that aligned with the career path, so that was the first time I really started exploring it as an option for my undergraduate degree.
I liked the idea of working in the corporate world, and solving really complex problems for clients. I enjoy finding challenges that I need to get my head around and think about in different ways to find solutions, which is why I think a career in law is a good fit for me. I’m constantly learning while I work which I think is really important in a career – it means you’re always evolving and developing, which makes things more exciting.
The part of law that I find really rewarding is seeing the real world impact that our work has. My first seat as a trainee was in the Construction team and when I saw some of the buildings that we had worked on it gave me a real sense of achievement.
In my role at Gowling WLG, I also get the opportunity to get involved with business development for the firm and help raise the team’s profile with thought leadership. Recently I was also able to speak at an IP session on brands and trademarks for our ThinkHouse Foundations seminar, which was a fantastic opportunity to be part of while doing a training contract.
What will your role as a volunteer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games involve?
I am going to be a Mascot team member, which means I am part of Perry the Bull’s team. I will be helping Perry with his appearances around the city during Games time, and chatting to the members of the public (as Perry only speaks Bull!) and making sure he doesn’t trip over with his big feet! Overall, I’ll be on hand to make sure that all his appearances run smoothly.
It’s a very exciting role as I’ll be going anywhere that Perry goes, which means I’ll be in the middle of all the action, interacting with the public, and getting a real feel of the buzz in the city during the Games.
Although it is a fun role, the training was meticulous. We received training on all things Perry, his characteristics, his background ‘story’ and the details of Perry’s clothes.
Why did you decide to volunteer for the Games?
I’m born and bred in Birmingham so to find out the Commonwealth Games were being held here was incredible and it made me proud to be from the city! When the chance for volunteering came about I knew I wanted to be involved and could not pass up the opportunity to be a part of it. I wanted to be able to look back at this time and have the most amazing memories and see first-hand the impact that it will have on Birmingham.
I had also heard a lot about the experiences from the London 2012 Olympics volunteers and how exciting that was, so that definitely made me want to be involved with Birmingham 2022.
What are you most looking forward to at the Games?
Firstly, I’m excited about the athlete spotting, which I’m sure most people are excited about. To have world famous athletes in Birmingham will be an incredible experience so I hope to see them out and about as well as competing in the Games.
As a volunteer, I will get to go to many of the venues so I am looking forward to seeing these up and running and filled with people. I am hoping to visit Alexander Stadium, the brand-new Sandwell Aquatics Centre, and Smithfield which be the home of the beach volleyball and basketball 3×3
The Mascot team includes other volunteers who are all lovely, so I’m looking forward to spending more time with them, and of course Perry, during the Games.
It’ll be great to meet lots of different people from different backgrounds all coming together for such a big celebration.
Do you think your day job helps you as a volunteer?
There is definitely an element of brand protection in my volunteering role, which aligns with my day-to-day role in the IP team as I will be ensuring that Perry’s brand is protected during his appearances.
But the role is also completely different to what I’m used to. It’s a lot more active as I am normally sat at a desk, drafting and reviewing documents. It will be a lot more hands on, and interacting with members of the public will mean I need to use my interpersonal skills.
Being a part of the Mascot team also means I have to change the way I speak and act so that I can represent Perry. I’ll have to be more upbeat and animated, which is very different to a client call where I present myself as more measured and prepared. It will also be a small taste of what it is like to do an acting/performing arts role, which I always enjoyed while I was at school.
If you could compete in a sport at Birmingham 2022 what would you play and why?
When I was younger I used to play hockey so I think that would be really fun. If I could choose anything (even if I wasn’t very good) I’d pick something I’ve never done like judo or boxing – something to learn and get some frustration out at the same time!
To find out more about Birmingham 2022 and how we’re playing our part as the Official Legal Advisers of the Games, read our story so far.