As a BA (Hons) Stadium & Events Management graduate, Craig Harrison landed his dream job as a Venue Logistics Assistant at Wembley Stadium for Euro 2020. Working at eight games throughout the tournament, including both semi-finals and the final, he shares what his role involved and recalls his personal highlights…

Tell us about your role as Venue Logistics Assistant at EURO 2020 and how you landed it.

The Venue Logistics team did the behind the scenes work to provide the set up and running of all Euro 2020 working spaces for UEFA, and oversaw on-site logistical requirements for staff throughout. As some of the first UEFA staff on site in Wembley, we received delivery of all furniture from the supplier and then set up all operational spaces across Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena, using plans received from Switzerland when planning the tournament. We took delivery of uniform provided for all UEFA staff, organised and distributed it to any incoming staff dependent on when the staffing plan showed they were arriving on site and dealt with any changes required. We worked with every different project that made up the tournament delivery team, moving any items to areas that they needed at any time throughout the duration of the whole tournament. Once the final finished, we were in first thing the next day to start removal of all UEFA furniture and items ahead of the next event tenancies at Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena.

I got this role when I went for another role with UEFA based in Nyon, Switzerland just over three years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the role, but the team that interviewed me decided my application was strong enough to get this job!

What were some of the highlights of the job and working at the tournament?

My biggest highlight was being a part of eight games at a major international tournament in my home country. These games included both semi-finals and the final itself, which are all huge games witnessed globally, and I managed to watch all of them when I wasn’t required to do a job. Due to the nature of my role I met many fantastic people professionally who I created friendships with and spent many special moments with, whether it was celebrating Harry Kane scoring the penalty rebound against Denmark or enjoying drinks and food pitch side at a UEFA welcome event.

In what ways has your BA (Hons) Stadium & Events Management degree helped prepare you for the role?

My degree really helped prepare me for the role as it provided me with the foundations of understanding event management, and therefore the importance of a great Venue Logistics Team for the success of any event. I had access to great people whilst at UCFB - I was able to pick their brains to develop my own knowledge and understanding of the way things happen in the event world, especially in sport.

What was the atmosphere like for the England games in the tournament?

In the end we were blessed with six England games at Wembley during the tournament, with the last few games providing some of the best atmospheres I have ever seen at Wembley, despite it not being at full capacity. The Scotland game was the best of the group games, despite the result, with a great away following and lots of banter between both sets of fans. There was a nervous energy going into the Germany game, but as the game went on the fans got louder and louder and when Raheem Sterling scored, you would have never believed that there were 45,000 fans in there – it sounded like so many more!

After this, I think England fans began to believe it could actually come home, and with more fans allowed for the semi-final and final, the stadium was bouncing. Every time I hear “Sweet Caroline” from now on, I will be taken back to the moments before and after the semi-final win against Denmark!

How did you manage the return of fans to stadiums in a safe and secure manner?

UEFA did a fantastic job of providing clear guidance on what was needed to manage the return of fans, which allowed us to deliver this and any elements needed. Masks, gloves, sanitising sprays and hand sanitisers were provided to each and every member of staff, with feedback from staff on site regularly acted on to improve safety for everyone. The small things like only being able to use individually wrapped tea bags for media or UEFA staff were taken into consideration to provide a Covid-safe event.

Did you gain any experience during your time at UCFB that helped you land this role?

Whilst at UCFB, I gained valuable experience as a Student Event Assistant for The FA Event Team for just over a year alongside my studies. This allowed me to build real life event experience on the theory I was learning on my course – allowing me to see why things were done as they were.

Finally, what advice do you have for anyone looking to study at UCFB?

UCFB is a great way to begin your pathway into the sports industry! Take all the experiences in the industry you can alongside your studies – you never know if you will meet someone there which will benefit you in the future, or by just having the experience under your belt will benefit you in the long run.