James D.

Club & Community Coordinator for Mind's EFL Partnership
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

James D.
United Kingdom

My employment

Club & Community Coordinator for Mind's EFL Partnership
United Kingdom
Charity and voluntary sector
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Club & Community Coordinator for Mind's EFL Partnership in the United Kingdom

Whilst I've always been a sports fanatic, being involved in teams at University confirmed for me the positive impact that physical activity can have on our mental health, hence why I'm keen to promote this to a wider audience through our EFL partnership.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

Mind is a mental health charity which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. I'm part of Mind's Physical Acvity team which works to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding across the sports sector.

What do you do?

I work on Mind's flagship strategic partnership with the English Football League. My main responsibility is organising the 50+ local match day activations a season between clubs and their local Mind partners, which help to raise vital funds and increase awareness amongst fans. I also coordinate the delivery of our complimentary training to clubs and their charity trusts, with over 1000 club staff attending the mental health awareness course in its first year.

Day-to-day, I work alongside the cross-departmental EFL Delivery team on major projects such as our Wembley Finals, #HaveYourMate'sBack campaign and 3 Peaks Challenge. I'm also responsible for reporting back to our partners at the English Football League.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Working as YUSU President provided me with a great insight into the charity sector, but I believe that getting involved in all sorts of community based roles throughout my time at York provided me with the platform and desire to work for an organisation like Mind.

Chairing the James JCRC was such an inspiring and valuable experience, as our committee invested a great deal of time and energy into supporting our community, whether that be through free food giveaways; organising sports tournaments such as James vs York St.Johns; or through putting on a wide range of events for all.

Joining sports clubs, both at a college and Uni level has played a part in my current career choice. Whilst I've always been a sports fanatic, being involved in teams at University confirmed for me the positive impact that physical activity can have on our mental health, hence why I'm keen to promote this to a wider audience through our EFL partnership.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I knew for a long time that I wanted to work in the sports industry and the charity sector was a real bonus. But even after working at YUSU for a year after graduating, I still didn't have a clear idea of where I'd end up. So applying for different roles and attending interviews helped me build a better picture of the opportunities out there for me.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Through our charity partnership, Mind has a big presence at all the Wembley Finals, and my first experience of this was the 2020 Carabao Cup final between Man City vs Aston Villa. I helped out on our stand along Wembley Way, where we encouraged fans to come up and sign a huge shirt to show their support for better mental health. It was great to meet thousands of fans who were incredibly passionate about the work that Mind is doing, but most importantly, it was those that I spoke to that had personally been impacted that really stuck with me.

After over 10 hours on Wembley Way and having dropped off the shirts at the dressing rooms, the day was topped off by getting to watch the game from Row 4! Overall, it's one of my most memorable days at work yet because I really got such a buzz out of being part of a large-scale event activation and sharing that with the rest of my EFL Delivery team made it all the more enjoyable.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Looking back, I'm really pleased with how I maximised my time at University, seeking to throw myself into everything I possibly could alongside keeping on top of my degree. In my first year, I was playing 20+ hours of sport a week which helped to keep me physically and mentally fit. Captaining teams and helping to bring the squad together for socials definitely helped to improve my organisation skills and provided me with the opportunity to think about how to bring the best out of people.

Chairing the James College JCRC was by far one of the most beneficial roles that helped me to develop a number of skills, and a role that I drew upon during interviews. Helping to organsise all sorts of activities for the college, whether on the large scale of Freshers Week or simply by putting on a Waffle Wednesday, gave me a great deal of experience in event management and helped me to hone my ability to work effectively in a team enviroment.

My paid role as College Sport Assistant at YUSU, which I took on during my third year, also helped me to balance my time effectively. This part-time role allowed me to gain experience of a working enviroment, helped me to hone some key skills and also provided a bit of income - so I'd definintely reccommend checking out student staff roles available at York.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

The hardest step for me was knowing where to start. If you can, it's important to give yourself enough time to research an area that you're interested in properly. So check out what types of roles are available, use platforms such as this to draw on connections you have that might be able to provide valuable insights and invest time in submitting quality applications.

I nearly didn't apply for my role at Mind as I questioned whether it was above pay-grade and if I had all the experience I required! So perhaps the biggest lesson I learnt was to apply for the roles that you might be interested in, as only at the interview stage can you truly start to grasp an understanding of the role, and applying is the only way you give yourself a chance of landing it.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

More than happy to help out with general life after graduation advice; questions about opportunities at York during University; and to provide insights into the charity or sports sector.

Next steps...

If you like the look of James’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send James a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask James to be your mentor.

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