The FA has opened the next wave of applications for its Women’s Leadership Programme to help female university students work in football.
The award-winning programme, which runs in partnership with British Universities and Colleges Sport [BUCS], aims to unlock the potential of a diverse cohort of students aspiring to work in women’s football and provide a competitive edge when entering the job market.
The University Women’s Leadership Programme is now in its fourth year and is open to all current female university students. It seeks to bridge the gap between who students are, and what they are capable of, through theoretical and applied learning experiences. Participants are given the chance to develop their skills, confidence, and professional network through a series of workshops, residential days and networking events. A number of FA employees have also signed up to mentor and support the next cohort on the programme.
In 2021, the programme was recognised with the FISU Gender Equality Project Award, which honours projects or individuals who have made significant efforts to advance and achieve gender equality within university sport in their country, continent or internationally. Previous guest speakers on the programme include Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Director of Women’s Football, Ruth Shaw, General Manager of the Premier League Charitable Fund, and Allison Tripney, Director of Leicester in the Community.
Louise Gear, The FA’s Head of Development, said: “The central theme of The FA’s Women’s and Girls’ Football Strategy is ensuring equal access and fostering a sport that truly is for all. This can only be achieved if we have more women leading at the top, who can create change on both a national and local level and inspire younger women and girls to participate in our game. This programme continues to go from strength to strength, producing confident, motivated and more employable young women who will go on to become the next generation of leaders within the game.”
Over 40 young women have come through the programme since it launched in May 2019, with many going on to secure jobs working in women’s and girls’ football.
Programme alumnus Ellie Reid, who is now working as Women’s Participation Officer at MK Dons’ Sport and Education Trust and leading on the Women’s Euros Legacy Plan, said: “Being on the FA University Women’s Leadership Programme had a significant impact on my life. Not only did I develop leadership skills, but I also learnt a lot about myself and formed connections with some amazing people who continue to support me both professionally and personally. I certainly wouldn’t be in my dream role in football if it wasn’t for the programme and the individuals I met who have helped me along the way.”
Dan Matthews, National Football Development Manager at BUCS, added: “The FA University Women’s Leadership Programme has played a pivotal role in kickstarting the careers of some incredible individuals, however there is still work to do in our joint quest to develop the next generation of young female leaders. BUCS & The FA continue to develop the programme, ensuring that it meets the needs of these young women as they look to make their first steps into the workplace.”
Applications for the 2022-23 FA University Women’s Leadership Programme are open until Thursday 2 June 2022. Click here for more information.
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