Chesterfield FC helping develop top youth talent

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Jordan Bowery’s big-money transfer from Chesterfield to Aston Villa shows the League Two club is at the forefront of developing top young talent and similar progress is also being made off-the-pitch.

As part of a successful partnership with the University of Huddersfield, sports journalism students are selected to assist the club’s media department.

Over the last four years, top trainee journalists have been honing their skills and working with the media team to report on Chesterfield’s fortunes - bringing you the very latest news on the club’s website and in the matchday programme.

It is a huge coup for the club and for the University of Huddersfield, which has over 800 applications each year for its five journalism courses, with Sports Journalism by far the most popular and over-subscribed.

The students are taught their craft by working sports journalists including Chris Irvine from The Times and Sunday Times, Peter Smith from Sky Sports News and Dave Devenport from ITV Sport.

Senior Sports Journalism lecturer Dave Devenport said: “Chesterfield FC are giving our students a fantastic opportunity.

“We have some of the best facilities in the UK at Huddersfield and we give the students intensive training in print, radio, TV and the web. But there is nothing that compares with the real life experience of being a sports reporter at a prestigious club like Chesterfield and at the fabulous Proact Stadium.

“The employability rate of graduates at the University of Huddersfield is 93% - which is the sixth highest in the country - and it’s thanks to partnerships like this with Chesterfield which helps our students secure top jobs.”

Among the young journalists given their first opening at the club was Adam Hulme. He so impressed the club that he was recruited to work for the Spireites before being lured away by Premiership club QPR to work in their media department.

BBC Sport in Salford snapped up graduates Georgie Wong and Tom White after they saw the work they had done for Chesterfield.

This year, two more Sports Journalism students - local lad Lewis Kelly and his colleague Nathaniel Hine - are reporting on Chesterfield’s youth team games.

Nick Johnson, who heads Chesterfield’s media department, explained the thinking behind the decision to strengthen links with the university. He said: “We’re delighted to be able to help the students gain valuable experience in what is a highly competitive field.

“I have mentored various journalism students over the years - some of whom now work for leading media organisations such as Sky Sports, BBC Sport and Press Association Sport - so it is something I am passionate about.

“The students learn so much by actually doing the job and it’s very rewarding to see them progress. The club also benefits from the increased coverage provided so it’s a win-win situation.”

So while talented youngsters like Jacob Hazel and Jack Waddle are starting to follow in Bowery’s footsteps, the young journalists filming them and writing about them are making their own breakthrough off-the-pitch!