Thirteen people, drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds and offering diverse skill sets, have been selected to receive a year of support from LiveWire Sport, as well as access to long-term clients such as Channel 4, Team GB and Wimbledon.
Applications were open to individuals who have faced barriers - whether visible or invisible - in fulfilling their potential in the sport and digital industry. These barriers could be related to any number of reasons: age, beliefs, sexuality, race, disability or gender, all the way through to financial, geographical, health, family or lifestyle challenges.
As part of the programme, each participant will be partnered with a mentor from the LiveWire Sport team for the year to provide additional support and advice, with the cohort and mentors meeting for the first time at a session on 31st March.
The cohort are: Adam Addicott, a tennis writer from Taunton; Ade Ojigbo, a rugby fan with the enviable task of studying European Politics; Connor Belle, a university student from the West Midlands with a passion for volunteering and aspirations to crack into sport presenting; Emily Chow, a recent graduate currently working in the charity sector but looking to break into the sport industry; Jamie Cullen, no not the musician, although he is often found at gigs as an official photographer or videographer; Jay Lettman, a channel manager seeking to make up for lost time in the industry after previously missing out on opportunities; Jordy Gray, an aspiring social media manager trying to break into the world of F1; Louie Benjamin, a 19-year-old school leaver looking to replace a degree for work experience; Mitul Samji, a creative writer with a passion for sports; Naomi Ogbeta, a six-time British triple jump champion with a talent for video and presenting; Rida Iqbal, an analyst with aspirations to become a consultant, Will Humphrey, a Bristol-based creative writer; and Zahrah Malik, a Manchester City Community student hoping to break down barriers for females in the industry.
Pranav Soneji, Director & Co-Founder of LiveWire Sport, said of the group: “We’re extremely proud to welcome our first cohort of mentees for the Diversity in Digital Mentoring Programme and look forward to helping them achieve their aspirations in the sports and digital industries.
“The group represents a truly diverse cross-section of backgrounds, with each member giving compelling reasons about the visible and invisible barriers that have prevented them from progressing within the industry.
“We weren’t sure how the programme would be received when it was first announced - but the applications and quality of candidates exceeded all of our expectations. We hope to continue this standard in the years that come.”
The programme was announced at a LiveWire Sport event held in November, hosted alongside national broadcaster Channel 4, to highlight the lack of diverse representation in the sport and digital industries, and discuss ‘Why Diversity in Digital Needs to Happen Now.’
The evening aimed to create a safe environment for frank, open and honest discussion, asking those difficult questions around genuine diversity in the industry, with speakers including the likes of Joel Beya, Founder of Cheeky Sport; Sehrish Mumtaz, Brand and Channel Manager at EFL; Yasir Mirza, former Head of Inclusion & Diversity at Channel 4; Dr Louise Ashley, Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway University of London; Laura Williamson, Senior Editor at The Athletic, and Dr Phil Hopley, Sports Psychiatrist.
The Diversity in Digital Mentoring Programme will run throughout 2020, with applications for the 2021 edition opening in November. Find out more at www.livewiresport.com/mentoring