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Female Flashlight: Victoria Polley

The Eighth Wonder programme is designed for 14-20 year old women with ambitions to carve a career in football. Whether that’s a career as a coach, administrator, development officer or journalist. Award-winning student, Victoria Polley is now a broadcast journalist at BBC Radio Essex. Victoria writes about how volunteering in Kent enabled her to make important strides towards her dream job in football.

During my last year at the University of Kent, I took the opportunity to volunteer to help with media at Gillingham Ladies Football Club.

I would attend matches on a Sunday and write match reports, record post-match interviews and also, record a podcast which featured players and women’s football in general.

Being a volunteer with Gills Ladies helped me build up more experience in a practical environment while studying for my degree in Journalism.

Being part of the media team within the club, rather than for the press gave me a different perspective on reporting and also, great access to the manager and players.

I was able to brush up on my reporting and interviewing skills which complimented other work I was doing. Getting to know everyone at the club helped to build my confidence as a journalist.

The podcast gave us a chance to record and edit a longer form of radio which was something different from what we were studying, but still helped us build on the skills we needed.

One of the modules I studied in my final year was the NCTJ Sports Journalism module which required a live match report as part of the coursework which had to be written in a certain time period. Being able to practice this as well as get my work published on the Gills Ladies website and shared on all the social media allowed me to build up more of a portfolio of work.

I graduated from the University of Kent with first class honours last July and went straight into work as a Broadcast Assistant at BBC Essex, where I had been freelancing throughout my degree.

In September, I will become a broadcast journalist and take over as Producer of the mid-morning show on the station. I will also continue my work with the BBC Essex Sport team.

I am so glad I took up the opportunity to volunteer at Gills Ladies as it gave me a chance to gain even more experience in the field I wanted to go into. The Eighth Wonder programme is designed to give young women this same opportunity to help develop a club. Besides that you’ll be mentored by people, like I was Charlotte, and enjoy a whole day of personal development on Friday 28th October.

Women’s sport and the coverage it gets is something I am very passionate about and I’m pleased I was able to be a part of that community. To see an initiative like Eighth Wonder start its inaugural phase, makes me sure that the generations of women in football will come through thick and fast.

Inspired by Victoria's story - sign up to the Eighth Wonder programme today.

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