Three weeks since our launch of iSportLearn, I’ve finally found some time to sit down and reflect on what was an all-encompassing few months bringing this to life.
You can check out Ben Page’s piece here for an insight into the scale of the project, and the numerous roles we all took on from overall project management to directing and production (look out Spielberg), to the commercial and marketing strategies. Quite the experience to be immersed in.
I’m sure you’ve all read Sandy Case’s piece on the ‘why’ of iSportLearn, and the need for it within the industry, and that’s just what I wanted to expand on today from a slightly younger perspective; looking at my experiences of entering the industry, and where I think our platform can add real value to those who are in the exact position I was only a couple of years ago.
I’ll start by saying that one question that is really fascinating to ask anyone within sports is:
‘How did you get into the industry?’.
To date, I have not heard the same story, and doubt I ever will; the range of ways that people have made their first jump into sports is so varied, and something I always find incredibly interesting.
Getting a foot on the ladder in sports is however not an easy one; it’s a very competitive industry; add in the fact that over the past 18 months we have all been battling with challenges that COVID has presented, it’s become significantly harder for someone looking to gain invaluable practical experience through an internship or to get an entry-level position, and this is where we hope to help with iSportLearn.
From a personal viewpoint, my development as a person and as a professional was very much shaped by those personalities and practical experiences I was exposed to while I did internships between the ages of 18-21. It’s such a great opportunity to cut your teeth, see the practical applications and examples of the theory, and help you to become laser-focused on the areas that you are interested in, and know where you would be best placed in your career.
Undoubtedly having practical experience and a grasp of how the industry operates is beneficial, and will smoothen your transition out of school/university, but for many reasons, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do internships; whether that be because of socioeconomic reasons, or because of a genuine lack of opportunities because of COVID, so this is something we’re really trying to combat.
Through our platform, we are able to democratise the practical knowledge, experience and insights needed to grow a career in sports, which can not only lower the barriers to entry but also ensure that everyone, from all backgrounds, has the necessary practical skills and education to take advantage of the available opportunities within our industry.
Working hand in hand to achieve this will be our Foundation, which is not only aiming to fund free or subsidised courses to underserved communities but will be working with sports organisations to deliver internship and job opportunities to those that felt the sports industry was just not available to them.
Lofty ambitions, we are aware, but with over 60 organisations involved across our courses, and many more to be involved in later stages, we know we’re in good company to make our industry one of the most accessible, diverse and exciting on the globe; much as it is on the field of the play.
Overall, as someone still very early in their career, it’s been incredible to work together with all of our playmakers, team and partners to ensure that the content of our courses really meets the needs of what 21-year-old Joe, looking to get into our sports, would have benefitted from. And if we are successful in doing that, I’ll be a happy man.
*If your organisation has a focus on diversity, sports or education, then we’d love to be having a conversation to see what we could do together to achieve these goals.*