SportsGrad and Spark join forces to create pathway for graduates into sport & events

Sports-tech startup SportsGrad and Australia’s fastest growing event company, Spark Event Group, have today cemented an Australia-first partnership that will create more opportunities than ever for talented graduates wanting to crack into the sports industry.

SportsGrad, founded by Reuben Williams & Ryan Walker, raised a seed funding round led by the founders of Spark Event Group, with the unique collaboration set to increase the opportunities for young talent to land dream jobs at the biggest sporting events in the world. SportsGrad helps people find jobs in sport by creating a home for young people to access exclusive networking opportunities, content and hidden jobs, in an online hub known as the SportsGrad Community.

The Community builds on the successful ‘SportsGrad Podcast’ which hit #1 for ‘Careers’ on Apple in 2020. “It’s an exciting time for sports grads, the trajectory into the sports and events industry is now clear,” commented Sportsgrad Co-Founder Ryan Walker. “We are giving our SportsGrad Community a step by step pathway into their dream job that’s never existed before. “Our purpose is to help people land jobs in sport. The collaboration with Spark will streamline the process for grads, and is another step on the way for us to make dream jobs attainable. “Seeing our grads succeed is extremely motivating. Our grads have landed over 180 roles in sport, including full-time jobs at the AFL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, and many more fantastic sporting organisations.

Spark Event Group offers event management, operations and workforce for over 250 clients at more than 600 events a year in Australia. SportsGrad’s professional development work will integrate with Spark’s contract and casual jobs at events like the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, and provide a powerful springboard for young people to turn casual work into full-time careers. Williams said he was over the moon with the way things have landed. “To have support in making it easier to land a dream job in sport is absolutely awesome.

The idea for SportsGrad came in 2016 when I was a student trying to figure out how to get a job in sport for myself.” “For 3 years it was an amateur YouTube channel with 30 subscribers, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit and I lost my job with Cricket Australia in June 2020 that I gave it the attention it deserved. I reconfigured it into a podcast with Ryan who I met at cricket, and we started sharing regular content. Late in 2020, we created the community for the most motivated students to learn together, and connect them with jobs in our network.

“Making the jump from university into a job in sport is extremely challenging because it’s so competitive and there is no clear pathway. Success is heavily reliant on who you know because there is little information about the limited jobs available and the skills you need” Williams added. By SportsGrad and Spark forming closer ties through the investment process, a clear trajectory into the sports industry will be created. Students will have access to tap into Spark’s 250+ clients and 600 events a year for ongoing shifts that provide essential work experience at the biggest events in Australia, such as the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and Australian Open.

Through SportsGrad, students will enhance their career development by learning essential soft skills through masterclasses, tap into long-term jobs on offer through industry partners like Netball Australia and networking with industry members from the AFL, Cricket Australia, Golf Australia and the NRL in their private community portal. Managing Director of Spark Geordie Miles explains the benefit for his staff and clients. “For our extensive and passionate group of workforcers, it will open up further networking and engagement opportunities right across sports, events and entertainment,” he said. “And event organisers will gain access to an additional pool of motivated workforcers for their all-important casual opportunities.

“Internally, Spark also benefits from streamlining job, recruitment and placement operations. “The collaboration makes great sense: the purpose of both organisations is the same – to create the opportunity for motivated, young people to work in the industry, and providing the experience and skills required to do so. Spark Director, Bennett Merriman, said this investment was particularly special. “This investment aligns very closely to a purpose that has driven us for many years.

Event Workforce Group, our first business, was created to provide tertiary students with meaningful casual placement opportunities to progress their careers in sport and events.” “Given the historical challenges new grads find in kick-starting their professional working careers in sport, it’s now critical that there’s a framework and platform that addresses these challenges across the industry.

SportsGrad has already proven what they offer is desperately needed on a global scale, and we are naturally excited to see our investment support their scale and growth.” “Reuben & Ryan have grown a really generous, high-profile network of top level professionals who are ready to ‘pay it forward’. It’s clear that we need closer ties between new talent and the sports industry, and SportsGrad offers exactly that.”

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