There will be four Raise Your Game events held over the course of the 2016/17 season, with the national conference returning to the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC, in April 2017.
A coaching Raise Your Game event was held at West Bromwich Albion’s Academy in March 2017.
The other events will see the fourth Women’s Raise Your Game conference take place at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium in June 2017, and an event based on Media in the football industry in July 2017 .
Media Conference – BBC New Broadcasting House
Media Raise Your Game - 19 July
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Kick It Out partnered with BBC Sport on Wednesday 19 July to host the organisation’s Media Raise Your Game (#RYG17) conference at BBC New Broadcasting House, with advice and guidance shared between different generations of the sports media workforce.
The event, which was supported by the Premier League, saw over 50 aspiring individuals who wish to develop a career within the sports media industry provided with the opportunity to network with key figureheads within BBC Sport.
The likes of Dan Roan, Sports Editor at BBC Sport, and Natalie Pirks, Sports Correspondent at the BBC, were in attendance to offer their thoughts on the sports media industry to the room of budding journalists, broadcasters and beyond.
The event began with Troy Townsend, Education Manager at Kick It Out, and Shelley Alexander, Lead for Diversity and Women’s Sport at BBC Sport, detailing the Raise Your Game series and the importance of creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in the football industry.
Troy then spoke to Dan about his career, which has spanned working across numerous media organisations including Sky Sports and Setanta. He then was posed a number of questions by the audience including how to judge the correct tone for significant sport-related stories.
In the next segment of the event, Victoria Cotton, Natalie Pirks and former mentee Daryl Hammond shared their experiences like Dan, before Glen Bertram delivered a CV and Cover Letter masterclass to the mentees in attendance.
To round off the fascinating event at Broadcasting House, a panel discussion on engaging with younger audiences was hosted with staff from across BBC Sport, Radio 1, 2 and 1 Xtra. Rhia Chohan, Amy Miveld, Shajan Miah and Jaguar Bingham all provided their perspectives on how the BBC attempts to engage with an audience who interact frequently on social media.
Reflecting on the event, Troy was delighted to see so many enthusiastic mentees in attendance.
“The Raise Your Game series is all about giving aspiring individuals who want to work in the football industry the platform to find their next step along their career journey.
“The Media event is always popular and it was fantastic to see so many outstanding young people, who are determined to be a part of the next generation of sports media professionals.
“This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Premier League and the partnership we have with BBC Sport, in particular Shelley Alexander, so I would like to thank them for being a part of another successful Raise Your Game event.”
Women’s conference – Etihad Stadium
Women's Raise Your Game - 8 June 2017
Read the report from an inspirational Women’s Raise Your Game conference at the Etihad Stadium by clicking here.
National Conference – Emirates Stadium
Raise Your Game - Monday 24 April 2017
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Kick It Out’s national Raise Your Game mentoring conference, supported by the Premier League, took place at the Emirates on Monday (24 April), as the organisation continues to provide pathways and opportunities to the next generation of football industry employees.
It was action-packed day as 350 mentees were offered advice and guidance from a who’s who in football, with 90 mentors giving up their time, as well as a host of guests speaking at the seventh Raise Your Game.
Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s Education Manager, started the day with a tribute to Ugo Ehiogu, before those gathered took part in a minute’s applause for the Tottenham coach, who suddenly passed away last week.
The day kicked-off with a panel session as hosts Reshmin Chowdhury and Max Rushden introduced Kick It Out Chair Lord Herman Ouseley, the Premier League’s Executive Director Bill Bush, The FA Chairman Greg Clarke and Rimla Akhtar MBE, the Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation.
They talked about opportunities within the football industry for underrepresented groups, focusing on jobs throughout the game.
Former Charlton Athletic manager and England international Chris Powell took to the stage for a Q&A, before spending the rest of the day chatting informally with budding coaches.
The day saw extensive one:one mentoring sessions, giving mentees a chance to sit down with professionals in their chosen category from media and communications, coaching and management, grassroots and community, football business and administration, player services, sport science and refereeing.
Workshops were delivered for those interested in the media and coaching areas of the game. A careers workshop offered handy tips for CV and personal development.
The Premier League trophy was on display, providing a photo opportunity for all in attendance.
The day was brought to a close with Kick It Out ambassador Sophie Cook telling her powerful story as the first transwoman to work in the Premier League as a club photographer with AFC Bournemouth.
Troy Townsend spoke of his pride at the organisation delivering another event which positively impacts on so many people.
He said: “To see such a wide range of people come together at one venue is truly inspiring. From our fantastic group of mentors who offer advice with the benefit of experience, to the hundreds of mentees who are so passionate about achieving their dream of working in the industry.
“The day has such an exciting buzz around it and there’s such an appetite for improving the football industry and making it more representative and diverse.
“The event was supported by the Premier League and I’d like to thank them for their support of the Raise Your Game programme.”
Presenters and Mentors from #RYG17
Coaching event – West Bromwich Albion Academy
Coaching Raise Your Game - 28 March
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Kick It Out and the Premier League hosted a Raise Your Game coaching event at West Bromwich Albion FC (WBA) on Tuesday 28 March, aimed at improving opportunities for coaches, particularly from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, to gain an insight on coaching within the Academy structure.
Thirty selected coaches were invited thanks to Kick It Out, where Mark Harrison, WBA’s Academy Manager, opened the day by detailing his methods for coaching players and how he looks to nurture young talent into becoming the best they can be on and off the pitch, with particular reference to some past and present academy talent including Saido Berahino and Jonathan Leko.
Academy analysts Adam Johnson and Sam Green gave the group an understanding of their work with academy players, including video analysis and different aspects used to monitor players’ movement on the pitch
Darren Moore, the club’s Development Phase Coach, and Jamie Smith, Under-18s coach, delivered an hour long coaching session which enabled the coaches to observe high quality coaching with the academy’s under 18s and 16s group.
The inspiring day ended with Mark hosting a Q&A session with Darren and Jamie about their transition from playing to coaching and essential tips and advice for the attendees to take into their future development.
Speaking after the #RYG coaching event, Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s Education Manager, commented:
“West Bromwich Albion have provided a fantastic insight into the club from an academy perspective. A real eye opener for all the coaches in attendance.
“One of the main points for me was the openness of the club to host such an event initially, providing an opportunity for coaches from a variety of backgrounds and coaching levels to improve their understanding of coaching and gain invaluable insight into a professional club.
“When people ask what is being done by clubs and football in general to increase representation and understanding within coaching circles, they only need to look at events like today for answers.”
Mark was thrilled his club could play a part in Raise Your Game:
“I was blown away by Raise Your Game. Speaking to some of the coaches in attendance, who come from a number of cultures and travelled so far to attend speaks volumes about the event.
“Having gone through the journey that some of the people here today are on, I know it’s not easy. Hopefully what I have shown them today is regardless of where you’re starting or where you’ve come from that you can achieve your coaching dreams.”
Darren also praised the event and the coaches in attendance.
“Events like Raise Your Game can only have a positive impact on the coaches coming into the club today,” he explained.
“To see coaching at the elite professional level environment will allow them to relate to the work we’re doing, and also shows there is a pathway for them into the professional game which can be inspiring.”