The Baku 2015 European Games Academy welcomed the first participants of its innovative Graduate Excellence Program to Baku this week.
Forty five graduates have joined in the first intake of the program, with 38 coming from Azerbaijan and seven from countries across Europe including Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey, the academy told Trend.
Around 150 more graduates will join the program between August and October
The Games Academy was established by Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee (BEGOC) and the Azerbaijan Youth Foundation, and aims to develop the skills and games knowledge of Azerbaijani team members, as well as supporting the development of university graduates through the Graduate Excellence Program.
The graduate program begins with three weeks of intensive training, after which participants will move into roles within BEGOC and have real responsibility for planning and delivering aspects of the inaugural European Games, for up to one year.
"I am delighted to welcome the first participants of the Baku 2015 Graduate Excellence Program to BEGOC to begin their training," Mr Gavin McAlpine, Director of Operational Capability and Readiness at Baku 2015, who has responsibility for the Games Academy, said.
"The program has attracted large numbers of young people with high potential and I am confident that they will bring energy and innovative thinking to the organization, as we develop our plans for the first ever European Games."
The program is supported by a number of partners including Exclusive Official Partner, BP. It also draws on support from leading academic institutions including the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS) based in Lausanne, Switzerland, ADA University in Baku, and the International Olympic Academy (IOA) based in Athens, Greece, as well as American consultancy firm Broadstone.
"The program offers graduates from Azerbaijan a unique opportunity to gain experience of working in an international environment," Graduate Excellence Programme participant Ms Narmin Mansurova, from Azerbaijan, said.
"I am sure that the skills and knowledge which I, and the other Azerbaijani graduates develop, will assist our nation's capability to host future major international events."
"I am proud to have been accepted on the Baku 2015 Graduate Excellence Program and to begin my training this week," Mr Akif Yazici, from Turkey, said.
"This is a fantastic opportunity within the world of sport for graduates from across Europe, and I already feel that I am going to be involved with a very special and unique event."
"This is my first time working abroad, and being involved with such a multi-cultural organization is very interesting to me," Mr Besim Aliti, from Croatia, said.
"Working alongside my fellow graduates and the experienced team at Baku 2015, I am looking forward to helping deliver what will be a memorable and historic European Games."
A limited number of places on the Graduate Excellence Program are still available for talented and motivated individuals who graduated between 2011 and 2014, with the application process open until Friday 1 August. Applications can be made here: