Claudia Ebanks is a Project Scheduler on the GL events UK team, Official Overlay Supporters for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. With her positive, can-do attitude and great sense of humour, it is easy to see why Claudia is a valuable member of the team.
Claudia’s key role is to ensure accurate information is supplied to the team via the FAs (Functional Areas). She explained that this information creates a collaborative temporary build plan of the sporting venues. These are the factors often outside the control of GL events UK and Birmingham 2022. This includes areas such as Security, Technology, Energy and Power, Broadcasting and Look and Feel. In summary, Claudia acquires the deadlines, key dates and plans to schedule in the elements of these necessary areas
Certainly, the delivery of infrastructure at GL events UK to Birmingham 2022 has brought together team members from across the country and further afield. Yet, dissimilar from a number of her colleagues, Claudia was born (and lives) in Birmingham. For this reason, the Games are particularly special to her. “It’s very exciting having the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as it’s my hometown. I live near two of the venues – Alexander Stadium where my son used to do athletics as a child – and Sutton Park, so it’s a very heartfelt experience for me.” Claudia continued by accentuating how the Games will help the community from her perspective as a local to Birmingham. “Local people, like myself, will be influenced by the Games, particularly children. The fact that it’s being held in Birmingham makes me want to say to my son now ‘I told you, you should have continued with your athletics!’ It gives kids some aspirations for the future, which lies at the heart of the social value that the Games aim to provide. When Careers Advice in the classroom doesn’t offer many options, a project like this gives children access to a new range of jobs that they probably haven’t heard of. Hopefully it will make them think ‘I could go for that job’. It would be nice if we could do site visits for children as well to really enhance the experience for them.”
Though Birmingham is not new to Claudia, GL Events is. Like many on the team, Claudia started her career at GL events UK in recent months via the project. She described her excitement at discovering she’d be working on the Games, as during the hiring process she was unaware of what she would be scheduling. “When I applied for the role, the project was not disclosed. So when I found out it was the Games, you can imagine my excitement.” Claudia later revealed her surprise at the reach of GL events UK and its previous partnerships and projects. “I did a bit of research on the company and I was really impressed with what I found. I thought ‘ah you’re the kind of company that has so much involvement in things but ordinary people don’t actually know about it.’ You simply arrive at the venue and think ‘this looks really nice!’ Actually I think my words to Dave were ‘this looks bangin!’ For example, the ice skating rink in Birmingham City Centre. You don’t think of how much work, time, planning and effort goes into it all – it’s really impressive.”
”“When we all come together for the main goal, it just works. The team are all so passionate about what they do. You can really feel that.”Claudia EbanksProject Scheduler - GL events UK
One of the strategic focuses outlined by Birmingham 2022 is Sustainability. To help fulfil this, GL events UK considers the environmental aspects of all key decisions within the project. Claudia highlights her appreciation for this. “I’m involved in the Sutton and Cannock venues which are outdoor (Greenfield) sites and are both places that I know. So, it’s quite important to me that we look after them and that they’re still intact after the Games.” Claudia continues by revealing how GL events UK shows their commitment to this. “I think at GL we’re making strides in the right direction – we’re doing what we can, where we can. As employees, we’re always being asked for new ideas of what we can do to improve and make a difference to our sustainability as a company, not only for the Games”.
Unsurprisingly, as with any role in a project of such magnitude, Claudia’s job is not without a learning curve. Yet, she reiterated the common sentiment shared by others in the team . This being that there is always support provided amongst each other. “Because I don’t come from an overlay background, it’s difficult to understand how everything fits together at times. For example, when you’re planning and scheduling it can be hard to think what to prioritise first. Due to this, I constantly ask questions but I don’t mind asking them – the whole team are constantly asking them! They’ll never stop you from enquiring and they’ll never think anything’s a stupid question especially because of the sheer amount of abbreviations! It’s been quite a challenge but we all learn together.”
While overcoming challenges collectively proves beneficial for this formidable team, it is quite clear that the various strengths of the team members also help to make it an effective collaboration. Claudia details how the team’s combination of qualities complement each other and gives the project what it needs. “Getting to know the team has been great – they’re an awesome team! We’ve got a good mix of strengths and because we’re all from different industries, we all see things from different perspectives which helps to achieve a rounder picture. You can see those different perspectives getting to work when people ask ‘how about if we do it like this or like that’. I feel like the communication between the team is so good and that’s exactly why you can ask those questions. When we all come together for the main goal, it just works. The team are all so passionate about what they do. You can really feel that.”
Truly, the Games capture the hearts of the team members, as they resonate with the implications of a tremendously significant event such as this. It is our hope that they will capture the hearts of the people of Birmingham in the very same way and ripple through British lives, like the oceans that join the Commonwealth together.
Keep your eyes peeled for more team interviews – coming soon!