We spoke to our head tutor of the Drogheda United Business Course, Dani. We asked her a range of questions about the Course, Contents, Perks & Benefits and the course enrolment for the 2022/23 Academic Year.
A little bit about your profession, and how you got involved with the Drogheda United Business Course?
I’ve a Degree in Sport Science, whereas most of my work and professional career has been in education and teaching (15 years), predominantly in Dublin, as well as a few years in management in Canada and Australia. I was interested in the role of the DUFC Business Diploma Coordinator, as it combines Sport and Education. What a great way for students to learn – through sport. When learning is fun, you want to learn, and you do learn. I love teaching, it’s very rewarding as a career, and I get very passionate about it, ask any of the students, they can tell you how much I enjoy seeing them succeed. With the right mindset, anything is possible.
How did this Course come about with the (LMETB) Louth & Meath Education & Training Board?
The FAI have rolled out the course for the academic year 2021/2022, for the first time ever in Ireland. Drogheda United and Shelbourne FC are the first to be hosting the (Football) Business Administration Diploma, literally making history as we speak LMETB are funding it, as a local Local Training Initiative (LTI), so most learners can also apply for Training Allowance while on the course too. It will most likely be expanding to other clubs across the country next year and we are leading the way.
What Content do yourself and other teachers teach to the Students during the Academic Year?
There are the course tutors (including myself) as well as some External Speakers that come in too. The content is all essentially related to Business and/or Football, as the aim of the course is to teach learners how to Run a Football Club. So, with that in mind, we have modules on general administration, IT/computer skills, how to work well on a team, developing presentations, as well as networking, marketing, finance. It’s about business, but specifically focused on the ‘Business of Football’. In addition to these modules, then all of the students get to do their soccer coaching badges too, PDP1 and PDP2. The entire course evolves around football, everything is in the context of football, what we write and talk about every day is – Football. Hint: If you like football, you’ll enjoy the course.
What Perks & Benefits have and will students in the future receive by doing this Course with Drogheda United?
Wow, where do I even begin! Well, first of, those on the course have a great opportunity to connect with people in Football, within the industry in general. We all know what a huge industry football is, globally. It’s a world of its own! A lot of networking happens sometimes very naturally. We get a lot of access to DUFC; the learners get to shadow staff, help on match days, assist in different community-based projects, there is a lot of hands-on learning, as well as classroom based learning. Other perks & benefits are, apart from work experience and projects based in Drogheda/Ireland, some of them also get opportunities for work experience abroad – the UK and/or Europe, which opens even more doors for their future – study or career-wise. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of our learners this year had jobs already lined up for them before the end of the course. They also get laptops to use during the course, as well as DUFC gear, a few other perks here & there.
Your feedback and thoughts of the 2021/22 Course?
This year we are a small group, small but steady. It’s not been about quantity this year for us, we will certainly have great quality and qualified individuals graduating in a few months. They have been (and still are!) absolutely exceptional. All I can say is I truly enjoy teaching and motivating these lads on a daily basis, their dedication, focus, hard-work and passion are top class. The outstanding results of the learners so far and their consistent drive, goes to show how much hard work has been put into the course development. Since it’s the first year, there have been a lot of things that have had to be set up, procedures put in place, content created and adapted, essentially we’ve been building a foundation. A sustainable and strong foundation nonetheless, for many years to come – there’s a great course there now that the future generations get to build on even more. So that, everywhere we go, we can be watching Drogheda United – putting on a show.
The relationship with the Club and the Course, is there any activities done with anyone from the club on a regular basis?
The students get access to DUFC club and staff in many ways, so anyone doing the course would get a great insight into how an Irish Premier League football team is run, what goes on behind the scenes. There is so much more to running a club, than what you just see on the pitch on match days. The learners this year can tell you so much more about that already and we’re only half way though the course! They get to shadow staff, help on match days, assist in different community-based projects, there is a lot of hands-on learning, as well as classroom based learning. We have also attended a club Board Meeting, as well as done presentations for multiple board members on this years projects at DUFC and at a Coaching Academy in England. There will be a lot more projects this summer. In general we work quite closely with Joanna, Hubert, Barry, Niamh, Enda and they are developing strong relationships with the rest of the team too.
Can anyone do this Course, and what is the maximum amount of participants?
It’s a full-time course, open to anyone with a Junior Cert qualification or above, ages 17-35, male and female. Personally I’d love to see more girls join us next year too. Number of women in sport in growing, and it’s definitely something I’d encourage – if you don’t play football, why not work in football. This year’s course numbers were somewhat limited by covid regulations and the requirement for social distancing, which we managed well. However, overall number of learners per course going forward will be limited to 25, and since we’ve had a lot of interest already, anyone interested in applying I’d suggest contact us before the summer to get on the list. Once the course is full, we won’t be able to take on any more candidates.
When does the 2022/23 Course begin, and if someone is interested who can they get in contact with?
Next year’s course should be kicking off late September/early October 2022 and it would wrap end of summer 2023. Anyone interested could reach out to the LMEBT, Joanna Byrne at DUFC, or contact me directly by email email@example.com or on 0899840661 during office house (9-5 Mon – Fri) with any queries. I’ll be glad to answer any questions.