UCFB students Rebecca Hawksworth and Alex Turk were recently given the incredible opportunity to work as media executives at the UEFA Under-17 European Championships.

Rebecca and Alex, who both study BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism at UCFB Etihad Campus, were  given the opportunity to work in partnership with The Football Association for the tournament after entering a competition run by the website Wakelet, with judges consisting of members of The FA as well as Stoke City and England goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Wakelet is a website which allows aspiring young journalists to create an online portfolio of all of their work. Rebecca and Alex’s portfolios were selected as two of the four winners of the competition which had over 250 entrants.

As well as attending and reporting on the tournament, Rebecca and Alex will also get the opportunity to attend an England senior international game in the Wembley Stadium press box later this year.

England was the host nation for the annual tournament, with matches played at various grounds across the country such as the New York Stadium (Rotherham United), Pirelli Stadium (Burton Albion) and the Bescot Stadium (Walsall).

A view form Rotherham’s press box at Italy v Belgium

Alex spoke of his delight at winning the competition: “I was shocked that out of the hundreds of students who applied, my work was recognised as one of the best. When I got the call it was great, and it gave me a true feeling that my hard work as a writer was beginning to pay off.”

Alex went on to explain what the pair’s roles as media executives at the tournament entailed and spoke of his highlight from the experience.

He said: “We got to watch the tournament from the press boxes at Rotherham, Chesterfield, St. George’s Park and others whilst writing topical articles on the games such as match reports and opinion pieces. We also got to sit in the post-match press conferences and had the chance to interview players in the mixed zone.”

Alex added: “I was lucky enough to get a piece about the Netherlands manager’s thoughts on winning the tournament published on The FA website which I was thrilled about.”

With opportunities to work at high-profile tournaments such as this often hard to come by, Rebecca went on to speak of the benefits of gaining such an experience.

She said: “For as long as I can remember my ambition has been to work as a media executive at an established football club, so to be given the opportunity to carry out what is essentially my dream career at a tournament such as this was fantastic.”

Rebecca added: “To be given the free reign at the games that me and Alex were was extremely beneficial. We got a great insight into what life in the sports media industry is like at a European tournament level and the whole experience has only further reassured me that this is the working environment that I want to be in.”