As festival season approaches, and with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner in Glasgow, chances are you could be spending some time this summer working as a steward. Fortunately, we had a chat with Kim Fraser* who’s worked as a steward at international rugby games and she’s got some tips on how to do a great job, how to have some fun while you’re doing it, and all the transferable skills you’ll get.
How to do a good job
1. Know your stuff.
As a steward you are only as good as the information you can give out. Once you know the area you’re going to be for a shift, work out where the nearest loos are, where you can get food from and the direction that people need to head in to find whatever main event it is that you’re stewarding. This is what is known as being an effective steward and will make you popular with attendees at whatever event you’re working. “Don’t even think about starting a stewarding shift without knowing everything that someone is going to ask you,” Kim adds. “You’re only going to annoy them if you have to go and ask someone else.”
2. Find your authoritative voice
Part of your job as a steward is to make sure that people are following the rules at all times. And if they’re not you’ll need to give them a friendly reminder of what the rules are. And this means finding a voice that people are going to listen to. That doesn’t mean you should be rude – far from it. You just need to be firm but polite, a simple, “Can you stop smoking please?” will do the trick.
3. Follow radio etiquette
If you’re one of the lucky stewards who is trusted with a radio to communicate back to your manager, you need to make sure you’re following radio etiquette. This is likely to be slightly different with different people, but as a general rule, it’s a good idea to let conversations finish before starting a new one (having more than one conversation on a channel is confusing for everyone), make sure you identify clearly who you’re trying to get hold of, and only use the radios for what they’re intended to be used for – no one will appreciate your hilarious jokes when they need to use the radio for something important. “Messing about on the radios is one of the worst crimes a steward can commit,” Kim says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re asked to leave for messing about.”
How to have fun
1. Make the most of your time off
This one mainly counts for festivals, but could work out in your favour at sporting events too. During your time off, make sure you get to do as much as you possibly can. “Let’s be honest, the reason you’re working as a steward is so that you can go to the event for free,” Kim says. “So don’t give in to tiredness when it’s your break. Make the most of it, see some of the game, go see your favourite band. You don’t want to miss out.”
2. Have competitions with fellow stewards
Now we’re not talking about starting your own mini-Commonwealth Games or anything. But why not see who can check the most bags, or who can photobomb the most pictures, or if you’re stuck on litter picking duty, who can fill their bag the quickest. “We often race to see who can get through their queue at the ticket gates the fastest,” Kim admits. “The winner is the one who has to stand waiting for the next group of people to join their queue.” There’s loads of things that stewards have to do as part of their role that can easily be turned into a bit of a competition – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to get a little bit competitive?
3. Celebrity spot
One of the fun things about stewarding is that you’re in a position where you’ll probably get to see some pretty cool celebs. Kim says that her team will compare celebrity sightings at the end of a shift and swap stories. “I once asked a really famous rugby player for his ticket because I didn’t recognise him,” Kim admits. “That was pretty embarrassing but we’ve all done it.”
1. People skills
Right at the heart of stewarding is dealing with people. You’ve got to be able to work with others – and also be able to deal with members of the public, even when they’re being annoying and not listening to your polite request that they stop smoking.
2. Knowledge of health and safety
As a steward chances are you’ll be given some basic training in health and safety, and maybe even be put through a basic first aid course. Other employers are often impressed with this kind of knowledge – especially if you’re applying for a job where such knowledge will be useful, even office jobs might be interested in this as they need first aiders too.
3. Time management
If you’re stewarding for sports games, your shifts will probably be different each week. And if you’re working a festival, your shifts will be different times each day. So being able to hold down a stewarding job shows that you’re good at turning up on time, in the right place and able to work.
For more on taking on a summer job, have a look at…
- Summer jobs in the sunshine
- How to ace your summer internship
- Transferable skills, what are they and how can you get some?