The 2022 Commonwealth Games promise to be a monumental event that could usher in lasting change for Birmingham.
This sporting extravaganza takes a village to organize and while athletes and officials are currently the face of the games, what about those working behind the scenes?
We spoke to two apprentices from the Birmingham 2022 squad who shared their thoughts on the global sporting spectacle. They complete a Level 3 Business Administration qualification by completing an 18-month apprenticeship with the Games.
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All recruits are from the West Midlands and were selected from 3,000 applicants after the program launched in September 2020.
23-year-old Ethan Nwokeforo (accreditation) and 37-year-old Davinder Sidhu (finance) raise the curtain on the giant machine that is the Commonwealth Games.
Ethan has had an interesting journey at work, saying: “I had a clothes business for old school, vintage clothes. Then Covid came along and I struggled to keep it afloat, but then I saw Covid as a fresh start, wondering how can I start a new career path?
“I came across this opportunity to get qualified and be part of the games, I could only see the benefits of being part of the learning.”
Ethan seems at ease as an avid sports fan enjoying table tennis and rugby, he also shares a love of exercise and fun calling the Commonwealth Games “an eye opener for a career in sport”.
Meanwhile, Davinder’s interest in health and well-being makes her more enthusiastic about the non-sporting benefits of the games, saying: “Having the games on our doorstep is a unique opportunity to get involved, it’s so exciting.
“It’s not just the sports side, it’s the other side like legacy, social benefits and the environment, public transport, mini forests.
“My family comes from retail, so I feel like I have the experience and knowledge of the business side of things.
“I was looking for different apprenticeships and this one came up, I had to go. It’s the biggest event to come to Birmingham and it was a no-brainer that I had to apply.”
The duo also add some personality to the mix, with Ethan crediting their positive energy and Davinder their fiery dedication. But that doesn’t stop the pressure from mounting just five months from the opening ceremony.
Ethan said: “It’s a bit of pressure, but positive pressure because we’re responsible for a great, average or poor game. It forces us to bring out the best in ourselves.”
Davinder added: “You feel the pressure to play the best games and I make sure I do my part to the best of my ability.
“It’s stepping back and saying yes, I made it happen and I’ve put on the best Commonwealth Games ever. It’s also part of that social change and I want to be proud of that.”
The journey to the games has not been easy with Covid and adapting to ever-changing government rules, but apprentices are delighted with the finished product that is Birmingham 2022.
Ethan talks about how he caught the extreme sports bug as his next venture and Davinder not wanting to turn his back on the sports world, but having a desire to continue with health, wellness and the environment.
Ethan summed up the scale of the games saying: “I don’t fall into the trap of thinking too much about the future, I want to be as present as possible for Birmingham 2022.
“It will not happen again.”
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