It had been a challenge getting Alvin Nani and Don Ranil together for an interview at the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. Bustling about the race village with headsets firmly in place, they were occupied with their respective duties as part of the event’s organising team.
The SportCares youths were attached – as interns – to Yello Marketing, the agency running the event. Alvin, an 18-year-old ITE student and dragon boat athlete, as well as 21-year-old SportCares football player Don, had been selected to shadow Yello personnel and pick up skills in sports events marketing.
As the charity partner of the event, SportCares teamed up with Yellow to offer this opportunity to the two boys, who had previously shown interest and potential in the field.
Explaining that his agency focused a lot on sports events marketing, Yello’s director Franky Wong, who is from Hong Kong, said: “We understand and share the SportCares belief, which is to use sports to transform lives. The first meeting we had lasted two hours. We talked a lot and we shared a lot of our experiences and values.”
Indeed, SportCares’ mission to help youths change their lives through sports has, through this internship programme, went beyond offering typical training sessions and workshops. Recognising the importance of developing a range of skills both on and off the sporting arena, this partnership aimed to equip Alvin and Don with experience in the commercial sector.
“We put in a lot of effort sourcing for materials, checking the race site, and trying out the routes,” shared Alvin.
During their eight-week programme, the duo had begun by simply observing and learning, before graduating to taking on more important tasks. Their hard work culminated in the responsibilities that they shouldered on the day of the race, with Alvin supporting the photo-booth activities and Don, the food and beverage stands.
Praising the positive work ethic that the two brought to the table, Franky revealed: “Compared to other interns I’ve worked with, Alvin and Don are very different. I believe that this is because they come from a sports background. They are very energetic and willing to talk – sports people are seldom quiet! They are willing to share their ideas and they want to make things better. They are very passionate.”
“We shouldn’t do just sports or just work all the time. There has to be a balance, where they can bring values from sports to enhance their abilities at work. Through their work with us, they are also able to improve on other forms of social communication off the pitch,” he continued.
As Don concurred: “To be a better player and person, you should not only be trained in sports. You should be able to work well in other situations and fields.”
Of course, their stint with Yello was not a completely smooth-sailing one, and both Alvin and Don spoke about the difficulties that they faced. These included the challenge of having to source for event-related products and services such as props, food, and the like. Yet, the boys took them in their stride, overcoming their problems and learning valuable lessons along the way.
“Dealing with vendors and working with colleagues from different countries have really built up my confidence and helped me to improve my communication skills. These are all challenges, but I’m getting better as I face them,” Alvin said.
The both of them also shared that the internship had helped them to grow not just as athletes and event organisers, but also as people. Naming responsibility, initiative, discipline, and perseverance as other important values that they picked up, the boys said that this programme had piqued their interest in sports events marketing.
“They are clearer of what they can do and what they want to do; their dreams and their subsequent steps. They’re quite different now; they’ve really grown! They’ve contributed to us, and they’ve been empowered in return,” Franky attested.