For some people it’s enough to simply buy a ticket and enjoy the game or the concert. But for people like Ashlee Blackwood, second-year Bachelor of Business (Event Management) student at Torrens University Australia, they’ve just got to be at the centre of making it happen.
“I have always loved going to various events,” Ashlee explained, “from local markets and concerts to football games, motor racing and cycling events. As I got older, I began to take greater notice of the work behind the scenes and the various people working to make the event happen.”
Growing up in South Australia Ashlee’s life was full of sports events: from the Adelaide 500 (previously Clipsal) motor race to the Tour Down Under cycling marathon, and even watching her own dad compete in cycling at the Adelaide SuperDrome.
“Cycling is definitely one of my favourite sports and motorsport is a passion of mine. I also have memories from a young age of watching Norwood play with my grandparents,” Ashlee said.
Ashlee's interest in studying and working in Sport Event Management
In the second year of her course when the opportunity came up to do an internship in a Community Football Events and Projects role at the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), she jumped at it.
“When I saw the internship listed on the Torrens University Careers Connect page I saw it as an amazing opportunity to get hands-on experience from a highly regarded organisation,” Ashlee explained.
Ashlee put in her application and was recommended by the TUA Careers Team to Jessica Wainwright, Projects and Government Relationship Manager at SANFL, as a suitable candidate.
“After creating a placement summary,” Jessica Wainwright explained, “Sheryl at Torrens University used her knowledge and relationships to identify students she recommended for the position, for our consideration.”
What Jessica looks for when hiring a student sport event intern at SANFL
“Key attributes I look for in a placement student are reliability, confident communication and initiative.
Ashlee was very proactive during the placement recruitment process, and impressed me with her responsiveness, time management and communication skills, both written and verbal. Simple things like providing me with her availability unprompted made the appointment process a breeze.”
Ashlee and Jessica were both happy about the results of the sport event internship
“Ashlee has been a great addition to our team at SANFL,” Jessica said, “and she has assisted us greatly in our planning for the 2022 ‘Think!’ Road Safety Country Football Championships.
She has demonstrated strong comprehension skills and an ability to self-manage her time and work priorities. It’s invaluable having another member of the team and I know I can rely on her to look after key project tasks.”
Jessica's invaluable experience as a sport event intern at SANFL
“Jessica has been a great leader and supervisor in my internship,” Ashlee said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my internship with SANFL, and getting to apply my study skills and get some hands-on experience at the upcoming SANFL Country Championships in July, which we are currently working towards.
This is my second internship, and so far I have really enjoyed it. I have been able to use various skills that I have learnt in my course to help prepare for the upcoming SANFL Country Championships. I will continue to be committed to my study and keep my eyes forward to other opportunities that may arise for my future work prospects.”
Ashlee's career advice for other Sport Event Management students
“I think that an internship is a great opportunity to gain greater experience in the field you hope to work in. If you see an internship or opportunity that you are interested in, I say go for it!”
The good news for other students and aspiring event managers is that SANFL will be taking on more interns in the future.
“With our team always delivering events and projects,” Jessica explained, “we are always keen to host interns to help us manage our events, while also developing the students’ own skills and offering them great experiences.”
With four years of experience in her role at SANFL working as supervisor to many different student interns, Jessica offers this valuable advice to anyone who wants to get where Ashlee is today:
“Seek out internship opportunities that align with your goals and interests, as well as be able to clearly articulate why you want to do the placement at that organisation.
I’m always looking for interns that want to challenge themselves but that also have a genuine interest in the position they’re applying for. I have found that these people excel in their placement, which then often results in other opportunities with us or in the industry.”