by Marc Garnett, LLS
Choosing a career path is tough for most us, let alone when you’re 16 and surrounded by so many possible options. During the past month, LLS made it our mission to inspire Doha College students by showcasing the diverse job roles within the global industry of sport; here’s what we’ve been up to…
The goal was simple, well at least on paper; I set Year 12 students the task of planning, promoting and delivering their own sports event. Football tournaments, athletics competitions and fund raisers were all discussed, but for me, I knew students could plan these events with their eyes closed – they needed a proper challenge. ‘How about a guest Q&A?’ I asked. The suggestion was met with the usual reactions of ‘Who could we get?’ ‘What if nobody turns up?’, and so on. One brain storming session and a few names later we had our short list of potential guest speakers – each with an interesting journey in the sports industry, all with their own unique story.
World Cup & Champions League winning Physiotherapist
Students decided their event needed to educate and inspire. They wanted to plan an evening that could be attended by students, teachers and parents, but what type of professional could appeal to everybody? As of 2017, Physiotherapy is one of the most popular degrees in the UK so with that in mind, we wanted to gain an insight in to what it takes to be successful in such a competitive area of the sports industry. Qatar’s very own Aspire Academy is arguably the most technologically advanced sports facility in the world and attracts professionals from around the globe who travel here in the hope of learning new ideas which they can take back to their respective countries. Within the Sports Medicine Centre sits Dave Galley, a Senior Football Physiotherapist. Thanks to LLS’ advanced professional network, we’d been introduced to Dave a few months back and we were instantly attracted to his natural energy and genuine passion for his work – we knew he’d be a great guest speaker, when the time was right.
As the sun set, we enjoyed a coffee overlooking the pristine grass pitches and talk soon turned to football. I was slightly envious that Dave had sat in that very seat watching clubs like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid up close and personal, but this was just an average day in the office for him – after all, he’s won a Champions League and a World Cup…
It was happening – a student-planned Guest Q&A with one of the world’s leading football physios, but how were students going to pull this off? The Commercial Bank Masters is an annual feature in Qatar’s sporting calendar so where better to learn about planning a sports event than here? Thanks to Doha Golf Club, students were invited to spend the final day of play at the club working alongside various event specialists. Doha Golf Club’s Yvette Mendies is Assistant to the General Manager and plays a key role in coordinating the annual tournament - she kindly shared some top tips on planning and delivering an event before introducing students to the Branding Manager and showing them around the media zone. ‘It’s a real team effort’ was one of the messages students received, so it was back to the drawing board to figure out the ‘event team formation’.
Coordination, promotion and logistics were the three sub-teams created and Year 12 student Diego from Chile was nominated by his classmates to become the event Chairman. Leading promotion was a tag-team partnership of Cerys (Wales) and Pablo (Spain) whilst Louis (England) was going to be responsible for health & safety and logistics.
Before diving into promoting this event, it was important for students to speak with a ‘marketing master’ so I called on Evolution Sports Business Development & Brand Manager, Toyan Greaves. One of the things he said to the students was "when promoting your event, you must think of all the resources around you." The students heeded his good advice, which took them to the next person able to help.
An Invaluable Lesson
I led a workshop on the key rules to designing an effective promotional poster and the team were all set to get creative. 24 hours later and the results revealed the team was lacking a quality graphic designer…
Rather than wasting time making marginal improvements on their poster designs, students reluctantly asked for some help and in came Jishu Matthew, Web Manager at Doha College’s Marketing Department. One concise brief and a short meeting later, the team had their new and improved poster. The lesson learnt here was: if you can’t do something well yourself, don’t be afraid to ask somebody who can.
With attendance targets set, posters in hand, emails written and social media posts created - the team was in full promo mode. Fast forward a week and the event was upon us.
The team had researched Dave’s career and set a list of questions which would hopefully educate and inspire the guests in attendance. We’d asked him for some images to go into the PowerPoint presentation and one simply read:
Here is how Dave explained these words.
LLS believe in a winning formula and educate young people on the importance of qualifications, work experience and building a professional network. We asked Dave what advice he would give to the next generation of aspiring sports professionals and here’s what he said:
‘The more voluntary work you can do, the better. Get as many contacts as you can - because everyone’s out for these jobs. Even at my age now, it’s as much about who you know as what you know.’
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Doha College, Evolution Sports, Doha Golf Club and most importantly, Aspire Sports Senior Football Physiotherapist, Dave Galley for making this event a great success.
On behalf of LLS’ Year 12 students I would like to say thank you to the guests who showed their support by attending. Personally, I would like to congratulate students on delivering such an insightful event and look forward to more in the future.
Thank you for reading my blog.