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Mia Butler and Tom O'Brien working for Seiko at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

News story

Edge Hill student rubs shoulders with stars of track and field at world championships

September 28, 2023

An employability and networking event at Edge Hill University led to one lucky student getting the opportunity to work at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Mia Butler helped arrange the event as part of her BSc (Hons) Sport Management studies, inviting Edge Hill alumni to return to the University and give a talk about their experiences.

Tom O’Brien, a Sports Development and Management graduate who left the University in 2017 and now works for Seiko, was one of the alumni invited to speak.

“Mia reached out to come and talk at an event she was putting on as part of the course.

“At the time we were looking for staff to come and support at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

“Mia was really positive and engaged when she contacted me about speaking at the event and when we met in person, so it seemed like a natural fit to offer her the opportunity to come to Budapest and work on the championships.”

Tom O’Brien

Seiko provides state-of-the-art timing and measurement equipment, designed especially for athletics at the highest level, and has supplied hundreds of world athletics events across the globe.

“Being involved with such a high-profile event was incredible and gave me a whole new perspective on the kind of jobs available to me.

“I was in charge of timekeeping working with a team to assign time chips to the athletes, hand them out and then collect back after their race.

“It was a great experience, and it opened my eyes to different career opportunities because I’d only ever seen the competition side of things before.

“I didn’t even realise jobs like this existed. It showed me there are a lot of different paths open to working in sport.

“The relay finals in the last night were electric and because our work was done, we were able to watch them as a team so there was a great atmosphere.”

Mia Butler

Tom worked for two years delivering a running programme for children in the North East before deciding to go full time as a freelancer working on major events.

He joined Seiko in May 2022 and following the World Championships, is currently working in Riga, Latvia, helping to deliver the World Athletics Road Running Championships.

“Network as much as possible because you never know what opportunity someone might offer you.

“I did that when I was freelancing, and it led to some really cool opportunities that I never would have experienced otherwise.”

Tom O’Brien

“For our students, hearing from people who have forged the same path they did is really valuable and opens their eyes to opportunities they might not have considered.

“It’s fantastic to see that Mia was able to translate this event into tangible real-world experience at a high-profile sporting event which will inform her future career options.

“Practical experience in delivering sports events and programmes is so important and it’s great to see our alumni giving current students vital experience as they look to develop their skills.”

Dr Emily Lovett, Programme Leader for Sport Management

September 28, 2023


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