Relationship with Derby County is key for Jade

Our close relationship with Derby County was key to Jade Shilton choosing to study with us. And our links with the football club have boosted her academic and career progression.

A choice of one

Jade is in the final year of her BA (Hons) Sport Management. “It was the only course that appealed to me,” explains Jade. “Sport Management is a course which covers a large area of the sport business world. It isn’t a course which just focuses on one particular area but many. It is what I think is its best feature.

“The appeal is that there are a lot of paths you can take once completing this course. It’s a course I felt will give me opportunities - or at least help me find them. And I love that they have a great relationship and link with Derby County Football Club.”

And Jade has benefited from those links. She has completed work experience with Derby County Community Trust. And she has worked closely with the football club’s marketing department on her dissertation.

A marketing team meeting with a board of post-its

Going behind the scenes

Derby County Community Trust is the charitable arm of Derby County Football Club. It encourages participation and achievement in sport, improving people’s health and wellbeing, providing and enhancing education, and promoting equality and diversity.

During her work experience with the trust, Jade was able to get a taste of the planning and management of tasks. She explains: “This was an opportunity to see how the community trust works and the management side of it rather than just the coaching. I was able to see the type of activities they offer as well as get involved.

“I enjoyed being able to see the amazing outcome their sessions offer while understanding the way it all came about. The staff were extremely welcoming and happy to answer any questions I had. To see the behind the scenes of the community trust was possibly the best part and most interesting. You don’t realise how much goes into the work they do.”

Additional opportunities

Due to the relationship that the University has with Mickleover Football Club (the Club is currently a member of the Northern Premier League, Premier Division), Jade was also provided the opportunity to present marketing improvements to Mickleover Football Club's Chairman, Don Amott. The aim of the presentation was to outline key marketing changes which students believed were necessary to improve the success of the football club. The class attended matches to identify any developments which needed making.

Jade stated "for mine personally, I chose their social media. The aim was to show them the areas which needed development and required correcting to help them achieve their professional aims." Much to her delight, Don Amott agreed that action was needed and it was an area that required development for the club. 

A group of people exercising outside

A change of direction

Jade has developed her career aspirations since starting her course. She explains: “When first starting university, I wanted to be involved in event management. However, over the last year I have decided to go into marketing as, I believe I am more suited.”

So she was disappointed when the pandemic meant she couldn’t take up her placement with Derby County’s marketing department. But she has still been able to take advantage of her connections with the club: Derby County’s Head of Marketing, Faye Nixon, has been helping Jade with her dissertation.

Jade explains: “I was able to show Faye my work that I had been doing and get some great feedback. She was super helpful and so willing to help me if I need it at any time.  

“As someone who is new into the marketing world, getting guidance and feedback is a huge help. There was a lot of guidance I received from Faye regarding my work but, also, the next steps to take in the future.”

What does the future hold?

With her sights set firmly on a career in marketing, Jade is taking a flexible approach. “Once I finish university, if I am not in employment within marketing, then I will look at getting my masters degree in marketing,” she says.

“BA (Hons) Sport Management course creates options.  It offers so many different modules you get a great taste for all the sectors within sport management. It has shown me about taking chances and opportunities. The facilities are brilliant, and the staff are great."

One opportunity Jade is particularly pleased she took up was becoming a student representative on her course. “It is a great position,” she says. “It has given me the opportunity to work with people above me and be in a professional setting. This has made me feel more confident in professional settings and more confident in my ability in these environments.”