While football has traditionally provided Apprenticeships on the playing and community side of Club affairs, Walsall FC have also taken the opportunity of ‘opening doors to a better future’ in their marketing and media department through the appointment of Laura Yates.
17 year old Yates joined the Club in October as their Marketing & Media Apprentice and while the majority of the Saddlers other Apprentices are working towards becoming full-time professional players on ASE, Yates is clear testimony to show that Apprenticeships can impact positively off the pitch as well as on it.
While the likes of Richard Taundry, Will Grigg and co have proved successful graduates of the Club’s football programme, the role of the Club’s back-room and office staff is often understated but equally as important.
Combining her roles between Marketing and Media departments, Yates has worked under the tutelage of Dan Mole (Club Secretary & Press Officer), Andrew Poole (Programme & Website Editor) and Steven Parry (Marketing Officer) and admits that she is still in ‘dream-land’ over securing the role.
“I saw the opportunity here advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website and it interested me from the start. I was chuffed to bits really when I was given the chance to come and work here,” said Yates.
“It’s a fantastic place to work and I’ve always been interested in football but I’m now getting to see so much more of what goes on behind the scenes at a Club.”
This time last year, Yates was still a student at the nearby St Thomas More Catholic High School in Willenhall and little could she have imagined the opportunities that an Apprenticeship would present her with.
From the outset on the media side I’ve been in the press box on match-days, helped out with press packs, conducted interviews and worked on the blog as well as other general duties.”
“The marketing side of things is slightly different where I’m involved in things like the distribution of all our marketing materials, leaflets and posters and I’m starting work on the organisation of a fun day at the Club for local people and kids to come along too.”
“It’s quite a varied role and one I’m really, really pleased with,” she added.
Club Secretary Dan Mole values the contribution that Yates is making at the Club and believes that all Football Clubs could consider employing Apprentices on the non playing side:
“Laura has been a real breath of fresh air. She’s keen and eager to learn and has become a valuable member of the team. It’s important that, as the town’s Football Club, we play an active role in the community,” said Mole.
“One way in which to do that is to help youngsters progress both on and off the field.”
“Apprenticeships in football do not have to be exclusive to the playing and community side of things. As Laura is proving, apprentices can play an important role behind the scenes. It’s important to invest in the future and take the time to allow others, like Laura, to flourish in the work environment,” added Mole.