From hosting her own show on The Football Terrace YouTube channels to networking with the right people, Mya Graham used her three years at UCFB wisely to ensure she had the best possible chance of employment upon graduation. Now, following a conversation with leading sports journalist and broadcaster Jacqui Oatley, the BA (Hons) Football Business & Media graduate is about to embark on an 18-month apprenticeship at talkSPORT. Here, Mya tells us more…

You’ve just secured a much sought-after apprenticeship role at talkSPORT. Tell us how the opportunity came about and what you had to do to get the job? 

About five or six months ago, just as I was finishing UCFB, I was put in contact with the amazing sports journalist and broadcaster Jacqui Oatley. She’s a hugely successful female working in the industry that I want to break into, so I felt extremely grateful to be introduced to her. We chatted regularly about working in sports media and she gave me some amazing advice. She would also regularly send me job roles to apply for, one of which happened to be at talkSPORT. I was super excited when I saw the apprenticeship role as it looked to be a dream opportunity.

I applied online in September and after a gruelling wait I got a call in October to find out I had been listed in the final 24 applicants for a Zoom interview and assessment day. There was an ice breaker and a group activity in the morning, and in the afternoon there was an individual interview and an individual assignment which we had a few hours to complete. For the individual assignment we had to create a 1-2 minute video explaining why we were right for the role. We were told to be as creative as possible, so I decided to take advantage of a skill of mine, song writing, and wrote a song – they said it really stood out! A couple of days later I received a call to say they were really impressed with me and that I had been successful in securing one of the three roles on offer! From over 1,800 applicants, it’s safe to say I was pretty chuffed. 

What will you be doing at talkSPORT and how much are you looking forward to it? 

This position is an 18-month apprenticeship and at the end I will be a NCTJ fully qualified journalist. Over the course of my time there I will be have three placements working in different areas. These are: live programming, audio production and social media. Then 20% of my time will also be spent at PA training to learn key radio and journalism skills. I’m so excited to just get going now. I’m also really looking forward to living in London, it’s one of the best cities in the world! 

What will you be able to take from your BA (Hons) Football Business & Media degree into the work place? 

Interestingly enough one of the highest grades I received at UCFB was in my radio production package. I absolutely loved it and even though talkSPORT is in a completely different league to the basic package I put together I am still going to be able to take all those core skills I learnt whilst doing that module in my second year. 

I also know that other topics I studied such as OFCOM will really come in handy as I am now very aware of a vast amount of media laws and ethics. I think generally my degree will give me a huge advantage going into this apprenticeship as I feel like I have already been immersed in the world of sport and media for three years. 

You’ve appeared a lot on the YouTube channel ‘The Football Terrace’. What kind of broadcast experience has this given you that you can use at talkSPORT, and also in your career in the future? 

Before appearing on fan channels I wasn’t hugely sure how to conduct myself to appear knowledgeable and professional, but also relatable and engaging. So I’m really grateful to The Football Terrace and other other fan channels that have me as a guest because I use every appearance as an opportunity to learn and improve my style. I was lucky enough to secure hosting my own show on The Football Terrace too and now I have great experience in not only punditry but also hosting. I have also learnt so much about the world of YouTube and podcasts. This is the direction the world is heading in and there is so much money to be made online, it’s crazy. 

How do you see the role of fan channels in the modern media landscape? Is it something you see staying around for a long time? 

I think that fan channels are amazing. I can’t take away from the amazing jobs that the professionals do, however, fan channels give a sense of relation to most football fans. They’re not ex professionals or managers, they’re just normal people who love football. A lot of fans appreciate fan channels as they feel equal to the people they are listening to. They are raw and emotional fans of the game who just want their opinions to be heard. I think that moving forward we will see a huge rise in the success of fan channels, especially with the rise in social media and YouTube. People are making a real living out of it. 

What aspects of your degree programme did you enjoy the most? 

I enjoyed the business side of my degree as I found some of the modules extremely interesting. I’m the kind of person who always wants to be mentally stimulated and the business modules certainly did that. I also really enjoy being tested in a high pressure environment so I loved the two business exams I had. However, I always knew my passion was media and it was definitely my favourite half of the degree, especially when we had practical tasks in broadcast media, television and radio production. I’m a very practical person and found that these modules were not only the ones I enjoyed the most but also the ones I excelled in academically.

For any prospective students looking to study a degree at UCFB, what advice can you offer them?  

I would definitely recommend UCFB if you’re passionate about sport and really want to make a career out of it. Studying at UCFB has taught me the core qualities I need to take into my career, and because UCFB isn’t a huge institution you also really feel like you have a great personal relationship with all your lecturers and tutors. I found that UCFB staff just always want to help.

However, you also need to put in the work yourself, whether this be through extra study or work experience – don’t underestimate how much a bit of extra revision or a few hours a week at a placement can benefit you. But I would also say that education and grades will not define your future. I didn’t walk out of UCFB with a First Class degree, but I have worked extremely hard to network with the right people and at times step out my comfort zone too because playing it safe doesn’t always get you where you need to be.