Youngsters meet their mentors at 'Raise Your Game'

Wednesday, 16, April, 2014
Kick It Out Event at Wembley
Over 350 guests arrived at Wembley on Wednesday for the fourth Raise Your Game Conference, hosted by Kick It Out.

The initiative aims to provide mentoring and leadership skills and advice to young people who have ambitions to work in football, whether that is coaching, media, administration, refereeing or even as agents.

With more than 30 mentors available for the guests to speak to on a one-on-one basis, in between three separate workshops and two panel presentations with host Clarke Carlisle, it is one of Kick It Out’s flagship events as part of the Mentoring and Leadership project.

A number of the conference’s success stories returned to reflect on how they used the contacts and knowledge gained from previous Raise Your Game events.

With Cory Hendricks-Jackman and Daniel Dodge both now on work placements at The FA after attending last year's Conference, there was no shortage of inspiration on show.

And Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley urged all involved at this year’s conference to take advantage and use the knowledge of the mentors at their disposal.

"We want you to make your aspirations and contribute to making you feel confident, so that you can go and play a role in our society and you can go forward and be successful," said Ouseley.

"Don’t give up, we want to open the door and help others walk through the door, but when you walk through yourself, you keep it open for others to walk through after you."
 
For organiser Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s Mentoring and Leadership Project leader, it was another success and encouraging for all of those in attendance.

"It’s been absolutely fantastic, just the buzz of the room and so many people having conversations, it’s been unbelievable,” said Townsend.

"Every individual has to take out of it what they need for their own career path and you couldn’t wish for a better set of mentors in one room.

"It’s the fourth year of the conference and it’s been the biggest one and if the appetite wasn’t there, the room wouldn’t be filled.

"The appetite is there and I’ve already had someone tell me how they’re going to bring the whole coaching system from Manchester down next year!

"That’s the type of thing I want to hear and if it can lead to people getting opportunities or building relationships with people within the media or coaching, then there is a longer plan there.

"That alone, for me, makes it a success and the feedback that we’ve had has been unbelievable."

With Brentford boss Mark Warburton, Barnet manager Martin Allen and The FA’s Head Of Grassroots Coaching Les Howie there to chat to budding young coaches, The Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter and ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley discussing media work, and key workers from the Premier League, Football League and clubs available to chat about football administration, there was a wealth of knowledge for guests to tap into.

Tyldesley’s special media workshop proved another popular activity, as did a coaching masterclass by Burton Albion’s academy head Tony Taylor.

ProZone also demonstrated the increasing relevance and importance of video analysis and with the mentors also giving their advice and inspiration to the youngsters, Townsend hopes Raise Your Game can help the next generation of football workers find their vocation.

"Clive Tyldesley, Tony Taylor and ProZone have put on the workshops and it’s given people a different insight into the industry," he added.

"I grew up as a coach and I didn’t know the other side of the game, but it’s good to step away from what you actually do for a living and pastime and see what opportunities there are.

"That’s how I’ve got on in the game and I would say to everybody that’s what they need to do as well.

"I just say to everybody to take what they need from the day and utilise that in your own way. Even if that’s in your local community, just use it and that’s the most positive thing I can say about the day.

"To have that wealth of knowledge and impart it on so many different people from so many different communities and backgrounds, can only be a positive thing."