The Ricoh Arena and Coventry University have announced a partnership to bring through the next generation of sport and event management professionals.
The home of Wasps Rugby Club and Coventry City FC has agreed with Coventry University to offer first refusal on entry-level roles to its graduates to support the venue in the hundreds of events it hosts every year.
It comes after three of the city’s sport and event management students have successfully secured permanent roles at the Ricoh Arena, and more than 100 students took part in the Wasps Ambassador Scheme helping out on match days, conferences and exhibitions.
Rory Prentice studied BA in Sport Management and MA in Sport Marketing at Coventry University, which incorporated undertaking a 12-week industry internship with the club, where he remains today as a partnership account manager.
Alix Smith (BA Event Management and MSc Sport Management) and Aimee Franklin (MSc Event Management) also studied at Coventry University, and now hold the respective roles of operations administrator and assistant people operations manager at the venue.
Jacky Isaac, group HR director and operations director at Wasps and the Ricoh Arena, said: “As a venue we need to be doing all that we can to support the events industry, a key element of which is helping to develop emerging talent.
“Coventry University has one of the UK’s leading Sport and Event Management degree courses in the UK, attracting hundreds of students every year, and this partnership also allows the Ricoh Arena to tap into a plethora of talent right on its doorstep.
“After successfully working with the university to provide its students with the practical experience of working on events so they can develop key skills to ready them for employment, we are now creating a clear pathway for some of these students to work with us full time.
“This could be within departments such as operations, marketing or corporate hospitality, or across a range of events including live sporting events, exhibitions and concerts.
“Rory, Alix and Aimee all impressed us with their existing knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to learn, and employment partnerships such as this one will hopefully help to retain and attract future talent.”
Ian Webster is a senior lecturer in Sport and Event Management at Coventry University, and is in charge of creating and managing external partnerships for more than 650 students who are studying on these specific degree courses.
He added: “What makes our courses the best in the country is our ability to provide a range of practical experiences outside of the classroom.
“It’s also fantastic news that we can now provide career-specific job opportunities at a time when entering a chosen field of work after university is getting increasingly competitive.
“Working with the Ricoh Arena, and Wasps, is also enabling us to educate and train our students in the employability skills and personal attributes that event venues, and sport organisations, desire from university graduates.
“The top attributes that employers and events organisations are looking for in a graduate include having the skills to hit the ground running in a job and not requiring lots of hand holding, working as part of a team, and being proactive and confident with a positive attitude.”