One of the cornerstones of the student journey at UCFB is undertaking invaluable work placements to help gain a deeper understanding on the inner workings of the sports industry. Anya Wood, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student at UCFB Etihad Campus, got a head start when she started work with National League side Barrow AFC before coming to UCFB. Here, in her own words, Anya describes her journey with the club and UCFB…

I first got involved with Barrow AFC before joining UCFB, after speaking to a UCFB Wembley graduate who said that getting involved with my local team before starting would put me in good stead in gaining some knowledge of the industry.

Back in April 2015 Barrow AFC had recently been taken over by a millionaire who had his money in America, so it seemed to me a perfect place to start by getting in touch with him and organising a meeting. I met with owner Paul Casson, the-then commercial manager Steven Casson and, now former chief executive, Austin Straker, and we discussed possible volunteering opportunities and how the volunteering would help start my dream career.

Once I had started at Barrow, I gained a place at UCFB and decided I would apply for the Martin Prothero Scholarship on the back of the work I was doing at Barrow. Thankfully, for the experience I gained with the sponsorship, hospitality and other aspects of the football club, I was successful in receiving the scholarship for my first year. I also received the Young Volunteer of the Year award at Barrow AFC in early 2016, along with helping them interview for an apprentice to take over my role when I left for UCFB.

In September 2017, after the partnership between The National League and UCFB was announced, I was approached by Barrow again to get involved with the marketing side of the club and help come up with ideas to increase foot fall. I have since been working with the managing director to analyse fan behaviour and find out reasons as to why fans come and go. There can be very different attendances at Barrow, varying from 700 – 1,200 fans, so we are currently exploring why this might be in the hope of increasing the attendance and its overall consistency.

UCFB signed a five-year deal with The National League in July 2017 to be its official learning provider. The agreement provides students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience across the league’s 68 clubs and its three divisions. Find out more.