Raise Your Game helps mentee join Coventry City
Emmanuel Fajemilua, one of over 300 attendees at Raise Your Game 2014 has joined Coventry City as a sports scientist.
Here, in his own words, he details how Raise Your Game helped him achieve a role within the sport and how mentors at the event inspired him.
I have started a position as a sports scientist with Coventry City FC and I am enjoying every minute of it.
I’ve always had an interest in working in football but have never known how to pursue the dream without being an ex-professional footballer. I went to Coventry to study Sport and Exercise Science and thought maybe it would help but even then it proved very difficult.
I hadn’t really had much coaching experience myself, working as a community sports coach for a company called Active Communities Network when I was 16 in 2011 for four months but that was about it. I also completed my FA Levels One and Two in coaching football at the same time but never actually went out to look for work in football. I got my first real coaching experience at university when a friend of mine, Michael Akinle, who was on the Raise Your Game Conference panel invited me to join him last September.
My friend Sheriff sent me a text about the conference and told me to register. I didn’t know what to expect as I had heard about Kick It Out before but I never knew what they did. I was put at ease and was very excited to attend as videos of previous conferences and success stories were sent to me.
The event never failed me and I was shocked to see people who had the same aspirations as me all in one place and to improve the experience, mentors were present who helped guide me into career path I thought was once impossible to break into.
During my time at university I have attended many events for job opportunities but they were always for subjects like business studies and sports was often neglected.
I couldn’t believe my luck to be at an event which offered me a chance to speak face-to-face with people already in the industry as well as also experiencing workshops in other fields related to football. I tried to make the most of my time there and i found it amazing how much me and my mentors had in common.
This made it a lot more personal and made me more hopeful. I spoke to Helen Nkwocha, an experienced football coach and before we even started talking about football found out that she is from the same country as me and was also born in the same area of London as me.
She offered me a real insight into working in elite football and the sacrifices she has had to make. When I looked at where she has come from to where she is now I knew that there is hope for me.
Helen said of Emmanuel: “He is a humble young guy. But, he is also understated, as he is very intelligent, educated and ambitious. He has a real passion for football and learning the game. Emmanuel and I come from similar backgrounds. We are both Nigerian and were raised in Peckham, South London.
“I recognise his outlook on life and personal goals. I am very confident that he will do well for himself”.”
I also spoke to Cigdem Turkan, one of the mentors from West Ham Community Trust, she really motivated me and gave me hope. She had also studied Sport and Exercise science at Loughborough University and as she related to everything I was saying, I felt as though I had a real bond with her.
It was fantastic to speak to other mentees and I have kept constant contact with people I met at Raise Your Game. I feel like the conference has offered so much to me and I have gained more than ‘just’ a mentor.
Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s Education and Development Manager said: “Football is a very competitive industry to break into and Raise Your Game continues to offer opportunities to those wanting to find the right direction for their career in the game.
“Emmanuel is an example of this, gleaning advice from his mentors and gaining the confidence to apply his talent to football. I am very pleased that Raise Your Game has acted as a springboard for him, and many other mentees to start their careers.”