How volunteering can help kick-start your esports career

How volunteering can help kick-start your esports career

Dominic Sacco
9 min read | 20 Jul 2017

More and more people are looking to secure a career in the increasingly competitive esports industry. Volunteering is a great way of setting yourself apart, getting valuable experience and opening doors.

Ryan McVean looks at some of the UK’s volunteering opportunities and what they entail.

The UK esports and gaming events scene has been growing steadily over the years. With Insomnia, epic.LAN, Gfinity, ESL and others active in the UK, volunteer positions and junior positions in esports are in abundance. Whether you want to be an admin/referee, shoutcaster, in production, coach, content creation/social media or just help out around the event, many of these positions can be filled by volunteers.

British Esports’ Dominic Sacco recently asked epic.LAN’s MD Jon Winkle about his event and the value of volunteering.

Jon said: “There are a lot of people who got experience at Epic and then went on to much bigger work, for example Pansy and Machine used to cast at Epic to get their experience, even Deman has done epic.LAN casting in the past.

“We are very much about giving people an experience and we don’t just throw them in we try to guide them, help them and mentor them a bit as well. We will happily help people with their CV afterwards to get more permanent roles as well. Anyone can apply to epic.LAN whether that’s first time casters coming to get their first LAN experience, admins, even just people to help at the meet and greet.”

For other areas, like coaching, management and playing in tournaments, experience can be gained from amateur organisations in the UK. Find the game you’re interested in and get involved in its scene, talk to other players and orgs and people on social media platforms and networks like Twitter, Facebook and Discord.

There are several who have gone from the amateur scene to securing paid positions in bigger esports leagues, for example there are a handful of coaches and players who started in the UK scene and local leagues before making the leap to the professional scene in games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike.

If you’re not sure what exactly you want to do but you know you’re interested in esports, volunteering for an event like Insomnia is something to consider as it might help you figure out what you enjoy doing.

As one the biggest LAN events out there, Insomnia runs with the help of a lot of volunteers. Expenses are usually covered, and those who impress can often secure paid work in the future.

Here are some of the roles Insomnia generally look for when running their event: :
– Networking team – The networking team are in charge of the network infrastructure at the events. They are the ones who keep the servers online for the event.

– Technical Support team – The customer facing team. They are in charge of the help desk throughout the event.
– Community team – This is the team that are in charge of all the activities for attendees of the event. Hosting the social games area and helping out those in the BYOC area

– Esports team – The esports team are the tournament admins who make sure that competitions run smoothly all event long.

After volunteering, it’s a good idea to check for job openings regularly and apply. At British Esports, we highlight various careers that anyone can get into through our career’s hub, as well as showcasing vacancies through Hitmarker. Keeping up-to-date with roles that are available is crucial in allowing you to get a good step into the industry and get experience!

What are the benefits of volunteering?

Volunteering looks amazing on a CV. It shows a potential employer you have taken the initiative to do something for free in order to gain experience, learn and push yourself forward.

For example, event volunteering shows that you can work with crowds, events and technology. Make sure to include what you specialised in during your time there.

Volunteering also opens doors, it allows you to network with people in this industry. Some of whom may even employ you in the future or recommend you to other employers.

Volunteering is simply a great way to progress your career, use your experience and talents gained to look for jobs or senior volunteer positions that you feel you would work great in! Many companies that take on volunteers will be looking through their pool for more permanent hires, so make sure to show them that you would love to be a part of their events more regularly.

Volunteering at the British Esports Association:
After the success of our kids’ esports club pilot scheme at Maida Vale library in 2017, we have welcomed several volunteers since then to gain experience in the industry.

Now, with the annual British Esports Championships, volunteers help out in various roles to create, broadcast and cover the event throughout the year. Many of our volunteers have gained invaluable experience which has helped them prepare to get a career in esports.

Alice Leaman began as a volunteer admin at the British Esports Association, and now holds a full-time position with the company as one of the School and College Liaison Officers.

She said: Volunteering with British Esports as an admin for their Championships (since the early days of the pilot) enabled me to really understand and get experience of what goes on “behind the scenes”. I’d always admired esports tournaments and events, and to be able to understand the logistics behind organising events such as these was fantastic and really eye-opening.”

“As it was quite a small team of volunteers, I was able to get involved in a variety of different tasks which provided invaluable experience of what it is like to work in grassroots esports.”

Alice added: “Due to the experience gained (particularly working with the schools and colleges participating) and networking as a volunteer, when the Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer role came available I felt more confident and experienced enough within the field to apply – which was luckily a success!”

Bryony-Hope Green, our Junior Content Executive, also gained experience as a volunteer with British Esports, and now holds a paid position with the company.

The British Esports Association is always on the lookout for enthusiastic volunteers who would like to help out with upcoming events and initiatives.

Follow our social media to find out when we are looking for volunteers, and how you can get involved!

Twitter – @British_Esports
Instagram – @British_Esports_Association
Facebook – British Esports AssociationVolunteering with British Esports as an admin for their Championships (since the early days of the pilot) enabled me to really understand and get experience of what goes on “behind the scenes”
Alice Leaman, Schools and College Liaison Officer

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