Having the unique opportunity to work as an FA Event Assistant on match days at Wembley Stadium has offered UCFB student Sam Barber the perfect springboard to start developing his skill set for a future career within the sport industry.

After seeing the work placement opportunity advertised on the UCFB Complementary Curriculum Facebook page, Sam, a first year student enrolled on the BA (Hons) Stadium & Events Management course at UCFB Wembley, was quick to apply for the opening and soon secured the role following a successful interview with The FA.

His responsibilities at events such as the England national team friendlies and the recent FA Cup semi-finals focused on preparation for match days. This involved making accreditation passes, making sure all player mascots and ball boys had the correct kit, radio stations were accommodated correctly and communicating to relevant stakeholders any changes that might be needed on the day of the event.

On match days Sam’s duties continued in the form of reporting to the Event Manager and Coordinators and assisting on various tasks, which involved focusing on the player facilities and ensuring all team staff had what they required pitch side. Inspecting team changing rooms, meeting all mascots, ball boys and ball girls before bringing them into the stadium and team sheet handling were all part of a pre-match routine that offered Sam a unique insight into what’s involved for large-scale events to be staged.

Sam said: “Having the opportunity to be part of three match days at Wembley Stadium was an amazing experience that I have learnt so much from. I enjoyed working on all the tasks assigned to me by my coordinator and manager. Being involved in escorting VIP guests from The FA lounges to the tunnel for scheduled interviews, making sure everyone was in the tunnel prior to kick-off, organising the team walk out onto the pitch and making sure the ball and ball plinth were in place for kick off were truly special experiences.”

When asked how he felt this had benefited his education and career prospects, Sam added:

“From my very first event, I learnt that there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes to make sure an event runs smoothly and is a success. It’s hard for anyone to imagine the effort that goes into staging an event without being involved in the organisation. Details for each event are planned down to the second, and in my opinion the preparation that goes into the event day are key to its success. Going forward, through my role at The FA, I hope to develop my understanding even further by working on new events and gain a better insight into the organisation, planning and delivery of world class events.

“My role has offered me the chance to start planning for employment after I graduate, as I now have a better understanding of what career path I want to pursue. I would like to thank UCFB and all the staff at The FA for being as helpful as possible and making this amazing opportunity available to me.”