Rebecca James on gunning her way to employment at Arsenal
Rebecca James attended the 2015 Raise Your Game at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and thanks to her experience at the conference, managed to gain employment at the Gunners.
In an exclusive blog for Kick It Out, Rebecca explains why she wanted to pursue a career in football and how the conference gave her the opportunity at the Premier League club.
When I was at school, like most kids I was undecided what I wanted to do afterwards but I knew that I love football. I had good grades in English and Media Studies so I thought why not put all three together and work within football media.
I then decided that I really wanted to work in the media and communications department of a football club and that has been my main aim since. I completed my A-Levels in Media and English and went on from there to read Sports Journalism, a degree I have just completed at University of East London.
I thought the degree would be the best way to gain the skills I need for a career in football. During my degree I was able to gain work experience at a number of clubs which has helped me develop my skills further.
I started off at Cheshunt, which was my local club, and then moved onto Leyton Orient and Charlton Athletic. Whilst unpaid, those experiences helped me out as they gave me an understanding of the work place which perhaps you don’t necessarily get at university.
I thought it would also be amazing if I could get some experience working for Kick It Out as I fully support the organisation and what they do.
I was fortunate enough to help with the Education Programme and that was perfect for me as I was coming towards the end of my degree, and I thought I could share my experiences with other people at university looking for jobs after graduating.
It meant I could help out Hayley Bennett, Education Officer at Kick It Out, who I had met a few times previously and got on really well with.
With the work I had done alongside Kick It Out I decided to attend the Raise Your Game conference at Emirates Stadium earlier this year. It was a particularly important time for me as I was about to finish my degree and I was looking for paid employment within the game.
For me I felt the more contacts I could get by engaging with some of the mentors that attended, the better chance I had of finding work. I had also attended the Women’s conference at West Ham in 2014, and that was helpful for me to see so many successful women enjoying good careers in football.
At the conference, I spoke to one of the members of the Communications Department at Arsenal and we had a great conversation. They recognised that I was hard working and were impressed by the experiences I had on my CV. They said to me that there was an opportunity coming up at the club and a few weeks later I applied for it, and after the interview stage, I managed to get the job!
It wasn’t luck that got me the job at Arsenal; I had worked very hard previously to give myself the chance of getting a job in football. But at the same time if I hadn’t attended Raise Your Game I probably wouldn’t have got the opportunity.
I’m hoping that people, in particular women, can be inspired by how I’ve managed to find an opportunity at a Premier League club thanks to Raise Your Game. Hopefully they will think ‘Yeah I can do that as well!’