UCFB, a world-first in higher education, and the Jason Roberts Foundation, fronted by the former Blackburn Rovers striker, have teamed up to offer students the chance to gain vital work experience roles in the football industry.
The foundation, which was set up by Roberts in 2007 when he was playing for Rovers, aims to offer participation and playing opportunities for young people who’ve not had the chance to access opportunities within football, training and development, and employment.
Students from UCFB, whose iconic campuses include London’s Wembley Stadium and the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, have already started working with the foundation in roles such as social media, sponsorship and community engagement. The work not only benefits the students’ CVs and future work prospects alongside their degree, but also enables the foundation to carry out its good work with larger resources.
Roberts, whose career also included playing time at Reading and Wigan, set the foundation up to initially focus on the Stonebridge Estate in the London Borough of Brent, where UCFB calls home and where Jason grew up. The foundation also helps in Grenada, where Jason’s family originate from and who he played for at international level.
Eight UCFB students have so far benefitted from spending time with the foundation. Among them are Dino Lorman and George Blackbee.
Dino, who’s studying BA (Hons) Sports Psychology at UCFB Wembley, has been helping the sponsorship team at the foundation. He said: “The partnership is an exciting opportunity for UCFB students to gain vital experience and I think it is a unique opportunity for students who are interested in working in the football industry.”
George, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student at UCFB Wembley, has been getting involved in the marketing and communications department. He said: “The partnership is still in its early stages but has been great so far. Everyone we have met who are involved with the foundation have been very warm in welcoming us, and I have learnt how much planning and hard work goes in to running a foundation behind the scenes.”
Commenting on the partnership, Roberts added: “We’re very excited about having these UCFB students on board who are being trained to a high level and understand exactly what we need as an organisation to move forward. We’re also pleased to be able to help them to upskill themselves in a real way, dealing with people, organisations and real outcomes, and we’re excited to see how we can move forward together.”