University graduates face unsteady job market

Sports Reporter, Photo Credit: Roger H. Goun.

Trying to get into an industry after graduation can be very difficult even without a global pandemic getting in the way.

Covid-19 has impacted the sports media scene for thousands of students trying to get a job across the UK.

However, for two former Sports Journalism student’s, life has been different after completing their degrees in May.

Callum Foster, 21, and George Hodgson, 21, are both ex-students from the University of Central Lancashire who both graduated but have had different journeys since leaving; one looking for his breakthrough in the industry while the other is thriving at his new job.

Callum, from Preston, is waiting for someone in the world of sports media to give him a chance to express his skills to thrive on the scene.

But what’s his situation? Since leaving University he’s been doing part-time work with Blackpool academy and AFC Fylde.

Despite being a qualified Sports Journalist, Callum only wants to go down a certain path. He said: “Since joining University, I’ve never actually wanted to be an actual journalist that works for a newspaper.  

“I felt like not many people actually want to go down the football media route, I feel like that’s unique in itself.

“My heart has been set into going into media teams at football clubs. So, working as a head of media or media assistant.”

Meanwhile, George got his breakthrough while still studying his degree; he got a job working for LancsLive reporting on Preston North End.

He said: “It’s been brilliant in terms of going straight into a job, which is something I feel very lucky to have been able to do given the current climate.

“It’s been great yet very weird; I went full time in May after being in three days a week from January.

“I couldn’t have walked into something much better really for a first job. It all happened very quickly but I do feel like I’m representing the many North End fans I know, which is something I don’t take for granted.”

With the global pandemic impacting the whole world, businesses have been reluctant to hire people because of costs.

This has been one of many problems for Callum in getting his foot through the door in sports media. He said: “I feel like a lot of business people are reluctant to take on because of the pandemic.

“I think there would be a lot more jobs out there if this didn’t happen. I’m taking each day as it comes and try to make the most out of situation and be positive.

“I’m confident with myself and my ability. I feel like I’m good at what I do.

“For short-term it’s about securing a job and learning my trade and get my foot through the door.

“Once I’ve got that, then it will be to go up leagues with numerous football clubs. Everyone’s aim is to work for the best in the business.”

Although George has secured a job in the media world he still faces struggles with his day to day job at LancsLive.

He said: “There’s been a few things along the way but the best thing about it is that you always learn.

“Mistakes can only ever be a good thing because you’ll do your best to not let it happen again – whether it’s asking a daft/badly worded question, not proof-reading properly or a technical problem, the chances are it’s happened to everyone to the industry at some point.

“Sometimes it feels a little bit intense, but I find it useful to just take stock of where I am and remind myself that there’s a lot of people that’d like to have this job.”

Even though Callum hasn’t found a full-time job yet, he still urges people not to give up and keep going as only good things are around the corner. He said: “Don’t give up. I’ve had some many days where I think what’s the point?

“Especially after a job rejection. I thought what’s the point in applying as I’m getting nowhere. I feel like you’ve got to stick at it.

“While at University gain as much experience as possible as it’s so vital. Your time we’ll come and there’s only good things around the corner.”

Getting placements being a student is a great way to get your foot in the door in the media industry as you can build up contacts while you’re there.

George expresses how important is it to be yourself and start creating a social media presence to help you get a job in the future, he said: “On placements I’d say to just be yourself – you don’t have to suck-up to people or try and be something you’re not.

“I think people taking to you as a person is genuinely as valuable as you’re proving you can do the job well.

“Build a presence on social media too, and if you’re sat around during this week with nothing to do, nine times out of 10 there will be something beneficial you could be doing.

“Three years flies by, don’t waste it.”