UCFB’s Jacob Weaver and Thomas Walker represent The FA Operations Team at UEFA tournament
UCFB students Tom Walker and Jacob Weaver have completed an insightful work placement as Team Liaison Officers during a U17 UEFA Elite Tournament at St. George’s Park.
Third year student Jacob Weaver, enrolled on the BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance programme at UCFB Burnley, applied through UCFB’s Complementary CurriculumTM portal when the work placement was advertised and was delighted when successfully selected for the position of Team Liaison Officer.
Jacob’s main tasks were focussed on assisting and representing The FA Events team to ensure that the UEFA tournament ran smoothly, with his key responsibility to be the main point of call for the Turkey U17 team. This included managing any alterations to their schedule, training routines and match day requirements. This needed Jacob to show strong communication, organisation and relationship skills to ensure that all parties were able to perform at the elite level required in international football.
When asked to reflect on his experience, Jacob commented:
“The week and a half spent with The FA at St George’s Park National Football Centre offered me a unique and revealing insight into how the international football landscape is different from domestic club football in England. I also learned about the challenges of how much planning, time, effort and attention to detail goes into organising a well-run tournament outside of the 90 minutes of action witnessed by fans on the pitch.
“The other obvious challenge of having teams from all over the world playing in a tournament was the language barrier, which is becoming a common problem with the globalisation of football. This language barrier has given me the motivation to begin studying a foreign language in order to enhance my ability to work with a wider spectrum of international teams at future tournaments.
“Overall, I am very grateful to have been able to work for The FA, a world class football federation, at St George’s Park, and further build my network of contacts. The work experience revealed just how professional, talented and motivated the international football industry is, even at the U17 youth level.”
Second year UCFB Wembley BA (Hons) International Football Business student Thomas Walker was equally as enthusiastic to have the opportunity to work for a week and a half representing The FA. His responsibilities during his time at St. George’s Park were to assist The FA Operations department while looking after the Finland U17 team. His duties were to cater for the needs and requirements of the team, ensuring they had an accommodating visit for their first ever tournament in the UK. An important part of this role was liaising with the tournament director, Anna Molloy, and relaying any of the Finnish requests to alter their schedule, such as training or match day travel.
In addition, Thomas was given the responsibility to organise a team activity to distract the team from the pressures of the tournament.
Commenting on this task, Thomas said:
“I decided to take the team bowling, followed by laser tag. This meant that I had to organise everything from the arrival of the coach to the booking of the bowling and laser tag for the players. I felt the benefit of this was that the players had a chance to relax and have fun away from the actual matches. I would consider my effort as a success, as the whole team was laughing and happy on the way back from the two activities I had organised.”
His overall experience was beneficial not only in furthering his understanding of the sport industry, but as a character building exercise as well. Looking back on his time at St. George’s Park, Thomas commented:
“My duties over the course of the tournament required strong communication and people skills, especially when dealing with individuals from different countries. Effective communication helped to ensure that all of the team’s needs were met, therefore allowing the team to perform to the best of their abilities. My main duty was to liaise with everyone including the restaurant, hotel, and stadium staff to make sure that everything ran smoothly and therefore the team was kept happy.
“This experience has helped me to develop as a person by further boosting my confidence. This came from being dropped off at Heathrow Airport alone to greet the team and take them to their hotel. Being able to walk into an airport and meet a group of elite athletes that I have never spoken to before and then spend ten days working with them to ensure their stay is as expected was initially a daunting experience. By doing this though, my self-confidence has improved tremendously and I now feel much happier about any challenges that I undertake in the future.”
Concluding, Thomas added:
“The work experience has made me appreciate football so much more than I already did, as I now realise how hard everyone works in order to make a match possible. I have learned how to deal with other nationalities and different individuals within football by being able to change my demeanour to suit who I am speaking to.
“Lastly, I would like to thank UCFB, The FA, Anna Molloy, The Finnish FA, UEFA, St. George’s Park and everyone I encountered for this incredible experience and allowing me to gain an insight into the running of an elite level tournament and making the work experience both great fun and run smoothly.”
The UCFB Complementary Curriculum’s unique behind the scenes work placements, such as the ones undertaken by Jacob and Thomas, bridge the gap between education and business. This approach of enriching the UCFB students’ CVs both professionally and personally optimises the prospect of students finding themselves full time employment upon graduating from UCFB.