Having made the step up to featuring in first-team pre-season friendlies in 2014, former Scunthorpe apprentice Jacob Hood suffered a degenerative knee problem that ended the second year of his apprenticeship before it had begun.
Here the 20-year-old tells LFE how he turned that disappointment into motivation to pursue a new career in business and civil engineering.
Completing my apprenticeship at Scunthorpe United was a fantastic experience, enabling me to fulfil a childhood ambition in becoming a full-time footballer. I played regularly for the Under-18s, reserves and first-team in pre-season and thoroughly enjoyed the my football as well as being very active in my academic development, electing to complete A-Level English Language alongside the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport.
Obviously, due to the serious knee injury (Patella Tendinopathy) shortly after pre-season, the thought process of ‘my next step’ was accelerated somewhat. I’d always thought that it was vitally important to develop myself in other areas aside from football due to the sheer competitiveness and unpredictability of the game.
The apprenticeship gave me a fantastic grounding, evolving skills in numerous areas: communication, determination, professionalism, self-discipline, organisation and leadership. This made the transition from football to business quite seamless. Yes there are obvious differences but the intensity, concentration and professionalism required in professional sport prepared me for my career and launching my first business.
Initially, I took a gap year to attain necessary work-based experience within Business Development for a small engineering consultancy firm in the West Midlands. After a year with the firm, an opportunity arose with a couple of partners to launch and become a Company Director of a Civil Engineering Consultancy named Residential Engineering Design Ltd (RED Civils). This responsibility of running my own business came slightly earlier than I maybe envisaged, but I felt it was too good of an opportunity to dismiss.
RED Civils has now been trading for over six months and has solidified its position within the industry with FTSE 100 clients, such as Taylor Wimpey & Persimmon Homes. My role is to ensure the consistent stream of projects through structured business development activities, client forecasts and ultimately establishing and building of those clients/accounts, with a view to increasing profitability. I am also heavily involved with the production of technical engineering drawings, while working to develop my skills to become a qualified Civil Design Engineer.
With a highly congested/competitive graduate market, especially within business, it appeared to me that an integrated hybrid approach towards higher education academic study and work-based experience appeared to be the most direct route to progress in the industry. The PFA offers an excellent bursary package to support all members through academic study, so I actively elected to study alongside my work commitments.
I am currently studying a part-time degree in two parts, initially an HNC/HND at Heart of Worcestershire College and then onto my final year to achieve a BA Honours Degree with University of Birmingham. In three years time, I am hoping to have completed my Bachelor’s Degree, coupled with four years experience within the industry.
The plan for the future is for the business to continue to grow healthily and sustainably, as well as completing my degree to as high a standard as possible. I want to continue working towards getting back to full fitness and so that I can remain active alongside my business commitments.