Eager to stay in his hometown of Peterborough in his pursuit of a career in sports, Tom Lea initially worked for the city’s Phantom’s Ice Hockey club as PR Officer, before moving onto Peterborough United Foundation as their Marketing Assistant.

Here, the UCFB Wembley graduate tells us about both roles and how UCFB opens doors in a variety of sports…

Tell us about your role at Peterborough United Foundation and what it involves.

My role with Peterborough United Foundation is really diverse. The Foundation has so many projects going on at any one time so it’s really about promoting those and shouting about the great work the team do in the local community. The Foundation also oversees the Scholarship programme for both boys and girls, so I cover their matches on Twitter and we do interviews, reports and articles around the three Scholarship teams to promote the programme and give the players a feel of what it’s like playing for a professional club.

How has the club’s promotion back to the Championship helped from a marketing perspective?

The Foundation is quite separate from the main club in terms of having our own website and social channels, but a promotion is always good for every aspect of a club. There’s increased interest in the first team side of things and that does trickle down into the other aspects of the club, so it’s definitely been helpful when we have posts shared by the club. There is also an increased interest in the projects we run and our promotions around a lot of them.

What have you brought into the role from your BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism degree?

I think it’s been beneficial in many ways. I’ve brought the experience and know that what I learnt during my BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism programme at UCFB has given me new skills on which I can expand. I’d definitely encourage graduates to have a look into what their club’s foundations and community trusts are doing and see if there are any openings because it’s a fantastic way of getting into a competitive industry and can be just as rewarding if you put your all into your role.

You’re also a Referee for the FA. How have you found transferring between different areas within the sports industry?

I think refereeing gave me a new set of skills I perhaps didn’t have when I started as a teenager. It’s given me a thicker skin to take criticism in a good way and not take it personally, and I think that’s an important thing to be able to do in work and in life. From a football point of view, completing the FA referee course and refereeing games helped me to learn the laws of football that aren’t seen so regularly, but are vital to know when you’re in a position like that. Just having that knowledge of those laws can be really helpful when you’re working in football.

As well as football, you’ve worked in Ice Hockey. What advantages are there to working across a range of sports in the industry?

 In an extremely competitive industry, going into another sport when the chance allows is one of the best things you can do. I worked for the Peterborough Phantoms Ice Hockey Club for a year and it was brilliant for the experience and to add to my CV. You can learn and develop transferable skills which apply in football and other sports so the benefits can be massive.

What were some of the most interesting modules and aspects of your course?

The experiences we gained throughout our time on the course were really good. For example, we reported from Premier League under-23 games at the Emirates and Wembley Stadium, covered a National League Junior Cup Final and all kinds of different things; experiences I would never have expected to be presented with when I was looking at going to university.

In terms of the course, there’s a number of interactive modules and modules which allow you to go out and be creative, it’s not all essays and dissertations, which definitely made the three years more enjoyable.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to study at UCFB or GIS?

The opportunities on offer at UCFB are genuinely amazing. The lecturers and course leaders are passionate about their subjects and they have such a drive to bring the next batch of young people into a profession which has served them so well during their careers and that passion is something that makes the courses really easy to buy into and enjoy. If you’re thinking about a career in sport, it doesn’t even have to be in football, I’d recommend going to UCFB.