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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Students learn of careers in soccer

BUSINESS and sport students have been finding out how they could have a career in the global multi-billion pound industry of football.

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EX-PLAYER: Paul Fletcher with students, from left, Daryl Johnson, Jack Marshall and Matthew Bickerdike LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50039848B000

There are more than 100,000 jobs in the UK which depend on football, and students at Barrow Sixth Form College explored these opportunities with a visit from University College of Football Business.

UCFB runs BA (Hons) degrees in football business with either finance, marketing or media, at Burnley Football Club, and in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University.

The partnership is the first of its kind and the programmes have been created for aspiring professionals wanting to work within the football industry, which includes some of the most powerful brands and businesses in the world, through to the football clubs themselves.

Respected figures from the football business are on its advisory board, developing the curriculum and teaching.

Brian Barwick, former chief executive of The Football Association and an ex North-West Evening Mail sports journalist, chairs the advisory board.

Paul Fletcher MBE, the managing director of UCFB, spoke to the students about the courses and opportunities in football outside of being one of the 22 players on the pitch. The ex-footballer played for Bolton, Burnley and Blackpool, and was capped at England Under-23 level. He has also been the chief executive of a number of clubs, including Burnley.

Mr Fletcher is renowned as one of Europe’s leading stadium experts. He masterminded the award-winning Alfred McAlpine Stadium and became chief executive at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, during its conception. He was also commercial director of the new Wembley Stadium.

He said: “Twenty-two people kick off on a Saturday afternoon, but 22,000 people are responsible for getting that football game under way. There is are a multitude of jobs. There is a massive amount of interest in our courses and we are very selective in the students we choose.

“It’s not all down to the academic side, we are in the entertainment world, we need people with personality and enthusiasm.”

He said undergraduates get fantastic opportunities to work in departments of the football club and meet the advisory panel members, which also includes former political aid Alastair Campbell.

Samantha Roberts, careers adviser at Barrow Sixth Form College, said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant hearing about the courses and the football industry. The students have been very interested and they came prepared with questions.”

A-Level business student, Matthew Bickerdike, 17, of Kirkby, said: “I’m really interested in football and the course in football business and media. It would be good if there was a course with law. I would consider applying for one of these courses.”

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