Supporting our volunteers – meet the new Workforce Development Officer, Gareth Dawson

Gareth Dawson starts his role with the clear aim of growing the number of volunteers in the game and providing a support package to further help and develop them.

The Inspiring Gloucestershire Strategy (2020-2024) has a clear ambition to grow the number of volunteers who support cricket in the many different guises – be it as a groundsman, an official, a coach, or a club or league volunteer. Whilst the current offering of generic courses to volunteers is good, there is still so much more that can be done to help develop, support, retain and reward these people.

The Workforce Development Officer role is the first of its kind in Gloucestershire and if we are to recognise our aims of wanting to increase the number of teams in the county, increase the number of junior sections, women and girls sections and disability sections, then a lot more volunteers are needed.

Key responsibilities within the role include:

  • Producing a volunteer strategy that incorporates all groups of volunteers (Coaches, Officials, Groundstaff, Club and League Volunteers, Young Leaders).
  • Creating role models who are capable of inspiring people both on and off the pitch.
  • Growing the number of volunteers across the County of Gloucestershire by co-ordinating and managing a workforce programme that offers variety and courses at all levels.

Steve Silk, Chief Executive said:

“Put simply, cricket cannot operate without volunteers, they are easily the most important people in our sport and the numbers of them are sadly on the decline. Clubs are fragile up and down the country and this is because clubs are so often led and managed by a few, and the few receive very little support through their own network. Our desire is to support these invaluable people with a dedicated Workforce Development Officer that will provide around the clock support and opportunities for people to grow and succeed, ensuring we do not lose, clubs, people and players from the game.”

Not unsurprisingly the Gloucestershire ambition aligns closely to that of the ECB, who in their Inspiring Generations Strategy, identify the need to ‘Support our Communities’ through ‘doubling the number of volunteers in the game and developing a new wave of officials and community coaches’. It’s aim is to develop ‘A stronger, more diverse volunteering workforce that will underpin the delivery of cricket, whilst also developing their own life skills’

Gareth Dawson, who has been a community coach at the GCB since 2016, is promoted in to this position and brings with him a wealth of experience in developing volunteers. In Gareth’s previous roles with the ECB and cricket in Gibraltar he had similar challenges and as a Lead Coach Education Tutor is well placed to inspire the next generation of volunteers.

On his new role, Gareth said:

“I am very much looking forward to starting my new role within the GCB. As we know clubs can’t operate without volunteers and it will be my role to support these volunteers and provide opportunities for people to grow and succeed. On top of this, recruitment of new volunteers is vital, whether it be as a coach, official, groundsman.

With so many boys and girls taking up the game the demand placed on clubs to find coaches and volunteers has never been greater. Through the coach education pathway, my aim will be to build the coaching workforce across the county, by working with clubs, schools, colleges and universities. Alongside this I will look at the recruitment of umpires/scores and groundsman and support them through the various courses that we are able to provide.”

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