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Northumbria student nets leadership role in women’s football

27th August 2019

As the Women’s World Cup kicked off in France earlier this summer, Northumbria University Football President and 1st team player Georgia Gibson received her own call up onto the FA University Women’s Leadership Programme.

Currently studying Sport Development at Northumbria, Georgia is one of just 10 female students from across the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) institutions to be selected for the FA University Women’s Leadership Programme.  

In its inaugural year, the pilot programme is a partnership between BUCS and the Football Association (FA) and aims to support female students in realising their aspirations to work in the women’s game.

By exploring and understanding the diverse opportunities that exist to support the women’s game – through both paid and voluntary roles - the programme will help participants define their career goals and ambitions. It will also enable Georgia and the other nine successful candidates to develop a competitive edge ahead of entering the job market.

In addition to running out as a National Championship winner for Northumbria in BUCS Football and BUCS Futsal, Georgia has also been a committed Sunderland Ladies player over the past 4 years. Away from her playing career Georgia is a keen volunteer and passionate about supporting the development of the women’s game as well as paving a way to a role in football in the future.

“I have great ambitions to be part of the women’s and girls’ game in the future,” said Georgia.

“I’m already an assistant coach with the FA Wildcats programme delivered at [Northumbria’s] Coach Lane and I want to complete my Level 2 and gain more experience to continue to develop the game at Northumbria and beyond”.

Georgia also has football firmly positioned in her future career aspirations: “I want my future career to be within football projects and development. I feel that being part of this programme will build on my experience and give me access to a professional network”

The FA University Women’s Leadership Programme begins on 6th September with the first of three residential trips included in the academic year-long agenda.

BUCS Women and Girls’ Football Development Officer, Beth Garner, explains the goals of the new programme: “FA commissioned research has been undertaken to identify key behaviours that align to high performance in roles and increased chances of employability and this will now shape the learning experiences of the students chosen following a rigorous recruitment process. The programme’s ambition is to enable students to be competitive in securing positions that support the women’s game: seeking to bridge the gap between who the students are and what they are capable of, through experiential and applied learning experiences. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills, behaviours, confidence, capability and their professional network.

“Throughout her application Georgia demonstrated a very clear and infectious passion, dedication and commitment to the development of the women’s game; her attitude towards developing herself in order to benefit others struck a real cord with the selection panel and marked her out as an individual who would really relish getting stuck into the challenge of growing even further over the next year.”

Staff and Student Development Manager at Northumbria University, Kate Hansbury, is confident that Georgia will make a positive impact as part of the programme: “Georgia is a fantastic role model for other females who want to get involved in football. Her ability to lead and get the best out of others will stand her in good stead on the Leadership programme, and I have no doubt she will be an asset to the cohort.”

Northumbria has a well-established student football programme as well as being an FA Women's Development Centre and an FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre. The University also continues to maintain its status as an FA Wildcats Football Centre, a national initiative by The FA to increase the number of girls who play football. Three Women's and Five Men's teams will compete in BUCS in 2019/20 along with two Women's and two Men's teams in Futsal. 

Click here for information about the Sport Development BA (Hons) degree course at Northumbria.

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