As a BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance student at UCFB, Niall Paterson didn’t expect to find himself working in basketball. But after completing a nine-month placement at National League North side Bradford Park, he wanted to mix things up a little. Here, Niall tells us how he got the job and how he balances the work alongside his degree...

 Tell us how the opportunity came about and what you had to do to get the job?

After my previous placement, I felt it was time to try something different. As I study Football Business & Finance, I have an interest in finance and accounting. It was well timed that just as I was finishing up at Bradford a finance assistant role at Basketball England came up via UCFB’s Employability & Enrichment team.

At first I was slightly hesitant as I thought that I wanted a role within football. However, I decided to get some help from the E&E team to update my CV and have some interview preparation. The interview must have gone well as I was offered the placement the next day!

How did you manage to work in this intense role alongside your studies?

I was initially doing two days a week, which was great as I could work it in between my lectures at the Etihad as Basketball England are based at the Etihad Campus too.

I found that having a placement alongside my studies really helped me gain practical experience and better time management skills. When starting at UCFB I discovered that most of the work is done outside of the classroom, such as reading and working on tasks set by lecturers. When I started my placement I did have less time for UCFB work, but this made me more productive as I had to fit increasing amounts of work into less time. UCFB enabled this by not saturating my timetable with lectures and seminars but allowing time for things such as placements.

What new experiences have you had in your role, and have there been any particular highlights?

In terms of highlights, I would say working as an individual on my own tasks in an organization where one person can make a difference. I have found a role that I enjoy but I’m also always learning, and have gained valuable experience in applying and being interviewed for a new role.

What have you taken into your role at Basketball England from what you learnt at UCFB?

I work a lot with spreadsheets, financial data and accounting software, something which the finance side of my course helped me prepare for. My degree at UCFB helped provide me with a lot of the groundwork for a role like this as I was familiar with Excel and working with data in tasks set throughout the course and in assessed coursework and exams.

What advice can you offer to any prospective students looking to study at UCFB?

I would say that if you have a keen interest in the sports industry and are the type of person who is willing to get involved and try new things then UCFB is a great place to study as the industry placements and guest speakers are truly one of a kind.