Former Raise Your Game mentee Amber Thiara gives her thoughts ahead of #RYG18
Kick It Out’s annual Raise Your Game conference, supported by the Premier League, heads to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Monday 16 April, for the eighth edition of the mentoring conference.
The event will offer mentoring opportunities to attendees who wish to forge a career in football, with the chance to meet industry professionals with knowledge and experience of working in the sport.
Amber Thiara first attended a Raise Your Game event in 2015, and following her attendance at the 2016 and 2017 National conference, has been able to secure a position within BBC Sport. We spoke to Amber about her learnings from previous events and her words of advice for mentees.
Changing careers from mechanical engineering to sports journalism might not be the usual route into the football industry, but it was one which Amber decided was for her after attending the Media Raise Your Game conference at BBC Sport in 2015.
“I changed career off the back of falling in love with American football and sport in general, so coming from a different background I wasn’t sure what to expect from the industry, but I think Kick It Out definitely helped me speak to the right people.
“After navigating through the past few years I am now working at BBC Sport in broadcast and online. My main role currently is working on social media across all the different BBC accounts. I’m really enjoying it as I get to work across a number of sports – I’ve done the Olympics and I am currently working on the Commonwealth Games.”
Amber made her way to the BBC with help from Kick It Out, after attending the Media Raise Your Game conference held at BBC Sport in Salford in 2015.
“It was so eye-opening – to be so close to the action and to talking to all of these influential journalists in attendance, it really cemented the idea that this is something that I want to go into. When I attended that event, I was fairly sure that I wanted to go into the industry, I just didn’t know how to and perhaps didn’t have the confidence to commit and run with it.
“I went there with optimism and it turned out to be amazing – being able to hold my own in those conversations and being able to take something from everyone there really gave me the boost I needed.”
Following her attendance in BBC Sport, Amber joined Kick It Out at the 2016 and 2017 editions of the National conference and she enjoyed the unique experience of the differing mentoring events.
“It’s completely different but in a good way! The media and women’s events are more intimate, where you are closer to everyone who is a part of the event, and it a cosier environment but the numbers of people who attend the national event makes it more exciting.
“They are different experiences but I would encourage anyone to attend all the events where possible. Every time I’ve gone it’s been a new experience and I’ve met new people and learned so much – it shows you what the industry is like and it’s not that intimidating, you just have to put yourself out there.”
With the national conference just days away, Amber offered her words of wisdom to the 350+ mentees who will make their way to the Emirates Stadium.
“I would say just be yourself – these events are not designed to be intimidating so it’s important to take in as much as you can. You can learn so much by just listening and absorbing all the information.
“I would say being attentive is the most useful thing you can do – as it will help you to see the event as a huge painting and seeing all the different colours rather than focusing on one aspect is the best way forward.”