Tuesday 11 February 2014
A group of young adults have been given a unique chance to take their first steps into a career in media after The Prince's Trust teamed up with West Ham United Community Sports Trust to put on a week-long 'Get Started' course.
The course is part of the The Prince's Trust Football Initiative, which aims to boost employment prospects for 16-25 year-olds who have barriers in life and may have struggled at school, been in care, been in trouble with the police or be long-term unemployed.
West Ham's media and marketing departments helped with programme last week, which included a bespoke media course including behind-the-scenes tours of the BBC and the club's Chadwell Heath Training Ground.
"Matt Jarvis persevered and look at him now, he’s a player for West Ham and he wouldn’t have got here without that perseverance"
Last Thursday, the youngsters also got to speak to West Ham midfielder Matt Jarvis, who took part in a question and answer session, as well as reflecting on overcoming the heartbreak of being released by Millwall as a 16-year-old aspiring footballer.
Safaa'a Muhammad, one of the participants in last week's programme, was inspired by Jarvis' perseverance and hard work as he realised his dream of playing in the Barclays Premier League.
Muhammad said: "What I'd take away from the week would be especially to always work hard at your dreams, always aspire to what you want to be and never take no for an answer.
"Matt Jarvis persevered and look at him now, he's a player for West Ham and he wouldn't have got here without that perseverance."
Speaking about the benefits of the course, Muhammad added: "The course has been a great opportunity for us and though it's only a short course, they tried to cram in as much as possible for us to get involved in, meeting players, as well as people in the industry.
"At the BBC we met some of the live broadcasters, Trevor Nelson and Vanessa Feltz, and we got to live a day in their working lives! It's been really informative."
Mona Boghdadi, of The Prince's Trust, hailed the programme and said the youngsters have benefitted significantly from the week.
She said: "There have been a lot of people this week that they have met and made contact with, within the BBC, at West Ham and Matt Jarvis, from whom they'll take confidence.
"I wanted to get some practical, real-world experience, right in the heart of the Premier League and this had provided that opportunity"
"They've felt quite inspired because they have been hearing other people's stories and I think they're a bit taken aback by how approachable, how nice everyone was and how willing people were to offer a helping hand.
"The session with Matt was really good. He was really relaxed, really approachable and really chatty, so I think it automatically put the young people at ease and it just felt more like a conversation among friends."
The Prince's Trust Football Initiative, which was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1997, has engaged over 22,500 young people in a variety of projects through the initiative.
The Premier League and its Clubs have played an important role in supporting the work of The Prince's Trust there has been over £9m of funding to the programme to date via the Professional Footballers' Association.
SAOS history graduate Sidney Malik, who also took part in the 'Get Started' course at West Ham, believes the experience he has gained over the week can act as a springboard for a career in the media.
He added: "I've got a lot of education and training in sports and media but I wanted to get some practical, real-world experience, right in the heart of the Premier League and this had provided that opportunity and platform. I would very much like to work in sports journalism and, in the long term, in sports commentary.
"This has definitely given me a kick-start, just from being able to build a show reel, which is so important now for young students in providing visual proof of your work. That's just a fantastic opportunity and to meet the people we have, who are actually doing the jobs that we want to do. Just the interaction with them has inspired and informed us."