Since opening at Wembley Stadium in 2014, UCFB’s partnership with The Football Association has allowed each organisation to benefit from the other’s presence in the iconic venue.

While UCFB staff and students are able to tap into the governing body’s football expertise, equally The FA have access to some of the brightest young minds in sport education, enabling UCFB students the chance to gain valuable time with the organisation in work experience roles.

Recent graduate Andrew Criticos was one of those students, spending a year with The FA’s events team at the stadium helping to organise and run some of the biggest sports events in the country, including The FA Cup final.

In his role as an event assistant, the BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law graduate had a number of responsibilities before, during and after major events, including: processing accreditation for teams, staff and media; ensuring the event VMS (Visual Mobile Signage) displayed the correct message to fans in the stadium, and coordinating mascots and ball boys.

Andrew said: “Working with The FA I have been part of the organisational teams that have made world class events such as The FA Cup final a success. This allowed me to understand the broad strategic considerations in event management, as well as gain exposure to the detailed level of  planning that goes into hosting world class events.”

As well as Andrew, fellow UCFB graduate Craig Harrison was also part of The FA events team, which also includes fellow graduate and full time FA employee Ben Friend.

The hard work of these students and graduates hasn’t gone unnoticed by senior members of The FA. Katherine Manley, senior event manager at the governing body, added: “The students we have employed as event assistants have become an invaluable part of our extended team, particularly during match weeks when we have a lot of event administration to work through and tight deadlines to hit.”