My name is Bennett Merriman and I am a Deakin University, Sport Management graduate (2008). As a Sport Management alumni, I am writing to share my experiences on what it has been like starting a business in the sports industry since a left my final lecture 9 years ago. Similar to many students graduating from a sports degree, I was always most interested in working with an elite team or becoming a player manager. Upon sitting through multiple job interviews and realising my industry experience was far short of what employers were looking for, myself and my business partner Shannan Gove, set up Event Workforce to help current students and graduates overcome that ‘experience deficit’ hurdle upon graduation. This issue of ‘job readiness’ among sports graduates is still prominent today.
Event Workforce Group is ‘placement with a purpose.’ For over 6 years, our team at Event Workforce Group have provided casual event and sport industry opportunities to motivated sport management students around Australia. After attending the 2017 NASSM conference I am excited by the opportunity to replicate this model to students in the USA.
Since placing our fellow Sport Management students at EWG’s first event, the 2011 Melbourne Marathon, our student database has now grown to over 25,000 students working in a range of casual work experience opportunities weekly. We are proud that over 90 of these students have now followed our pathway into full time industry work.
As we have grown, the support we have been shown by academics within the field has been fantastic. We have been welcomed into lectures to speak and have been supported by lecturers preaching our message to student’s year around.
From the University perspective, Event Workforce Group is the perfect partner. Our approach means we can work closely with careers departments and faculties to offer work placements to students within the internship program and also outside of it. In Australia alone, we have contributed over 30,000 work experience hours to students, with 90% of these hours being paid. Our involvement does not stop there. On many occasions we have coordinated class groups to volunteer at events, complete post event assessment items and earn credit from the work they have completed.
As we continue to work closer with Sport Management faculties, we have realised a number of important factors.
- The current administrative time spent tracking student hours, paperwork and evidence of work experience is cumbersome and time consuming.
- Universities find it hard to seek out meaningful work placement opportunities for all students, particularly those with larger student cohorts or studying specific event management subjects.
- Theory based learning can only go so far in the current job climate, students who graduate with extensive work experience significantly better their employment prospects.
How can your students get involved?
Over the coming 6 months, Event Workforce Group are set to announce a range of exciting events in the USA including opportunities for students to work at the 2018 Super Bowl Experience in Minneapolis. We are currently reaching out to Sport Management programs nationwide who may have students interested in self-funding their travel to Minneapolis for these opportunities. All roles will be paid hourly and preference will be given to students who can complete a minimum three shifts. Positions will include customer service, activation/promotional staffing and game-day attendants within the stadium precinct. All require highly energetic, motivated individuals.
While these opportunities are not 100% confirmed due to current negotiations, we are interested in building the network should the exciting opportunities come to fruition. Please email Bennett Merriman to begin the conversation.
Further information can be found at Event Workforce Group. We are very excited about building a relationship with Universities looking to broaden the work opportunities available to their students.