BY NAZIRA YUSUF
Being a Muslim woman with a strong interest in sports from an ethnic minority background can frequently undermine one’s self confidence, but, in all honesty, joining BCOMS has changed my life.
I’ve had the best few years of my life, forming friendships for life and connections within sports. Sports employment has never been more enjoyable, and BCOMS has provided the platform to experience that.
Starting from nothing but a dream and my love for sports, I knew my true calling was to work within the sports media industry, from a young age. In 2019 I went to University Campus of Football & Business (UCFB) and studied Multimedia Sports Journalism which gave me the foundation to learn about how to become a sport journalist and pursue a career in the sports industry. Three years later I have successfully graduated with a First Class (BA HONS) Multimedia Sports Journalism degree.
It has provided me with the freedom to develop both professionally and personally, and has offered me numerous interesting opportunities to showcase my abilities as a multimedia sports journalist.
As a social media activist, in 2020, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and read that BCOMS was recruiting new cohorts for the London BCOM Masterclasses; being from the North I was quite gutted that it didn’t have programmes aimed at the North.
Funnily enough, I remember quoting that tweet and asking if there would ever be a Manchester One. Much to my surprise, a year later in 2021 BCOMS North was announced. When the chance to enroll in BCOMS North presented itself, I was entering my last year of university. It was honestly something I could not pass up and it arrived at the perfect time for my professional development. was when doors started opening for me, and I haven’t looked back since.
Once I was accepted onto the programme, I knew this was my moment to not only develop professionally but also to inspire and build on the lack of representation of South Asian in sports media. Especially as a female, seeing so many success stories within this line of work, I knew BCOMS was the perfect step for the next stage of my career.
The BCOMS Masterclasses were excellent. It was inspiring and insightful to hear and learn from a variety of media industry experts, who provided us with invaluable perspective into the field and provided us with tips, pointers, and information to help us succeed in a competitive environment. Along the route, we had the chance to listen to several people, including Reshmin Chowdhury and Miriam Walker-Khan.
Furthermore, one of our masterclasses was held Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. It was an amazing experience where we had a day full of enjoyable workshops like commentary sessions with Match of the Day commentator Vicki Sparks and then a Q&A with former Manchester United centre back Wes Brown.
There have been many fantastic experiences, but my highlight was being assigned as a Social Media Assistant and doing the Instagram takeover for the BCOMS Instagram account. It allowed me to travel to Leeds United stadium Elland Road and cover the PL2 game, between Leeds United U23 and Crystal Palace U23’s. It provided me with the opportunity to interview and speak with players and from both teams, which was enjoyable. It gave me a taste of what the roles and responsibilities are like for Social Media Managers on a matchday in a fast-paced setting, and it boosted my confidence of working in social media. Elland Road was another stadium I could cross off my list
The advice and direction I have received from BCOMS Masterclasses from industry leaders has undoubtedly encouraged, determined, and inspired me to reach the top. I continuously found myself mention that after an eventful nine months on the programme, BBC Sports contacted me to help cover the Commonwealth Games. Working in TV Productive for two weeks with so many industry professionals was a priceless experience, giving me the self-confidence and self-image I needed to develop and deliver. Being able to network with so many people in the sports industry, while working at BBC Sport was a positive step for me.
It is crucial to keep in mind that where you come from, shouldn’t define what you can achieve. Instead, embrace it and push the boundaries and challenge yourself to inspire many others in the BAME community. It is time we inspired the future generation.
Finally, I want to thank Leon Mann (Founder of BCOMS), Tom Gayle, and Andrew Ducille for believing in me and giving me a variety of opportunities and experiences. Without your platform, this would not have been possible.
They really do make the impossible, possible.