Kick It Out welcomed hundreds of aspiring individuals looking to create a career pathway in the football industry, as the organisation hosted its eighth National Raise Your Game conference, supported by the Premier League.

On a wonderful day at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC, over 90 mentors gathered from across the football industry on Monday 16 April to provide insight and guidance to 350 mentees who aim to be a part of football’s future workforce.

The conference is part of Kick It Out’s unique programme which helps provide opportunities for people who aspire to work within the football industry.

Sports broadcasters Bianca Westwood and Samantha Johnson teamed up to host the conference for the hundreds in attendance – and they began the event by providing their experiences of the sports industry.

“I know when I first started (in the industry) there wasn’t opportunities like this, so please make the most of this!” Sam urged mentees.

The event began with a fascinating panel featuring a breadth of expertise within the football industry. Former Lioness stars Alex Scott and Rachel Yankey detailed their careers within the women’s game and how they have moved into new roles in sports broadcasting and coaching respectively.

Rachel commented on the need for more representation of Black women in the industry: "Go and make yourself accepted. It's about you keeping banging on those doors and changing the world!"

Henry Winter from The Times spoke about the changing nature of journalism, encouraging potential journalists in the audience to create as much digital content as possible to hone their skills.

Michael Johnson urged mentees in attendance to seek as much knowledge as possible: “You want to be in a position where opportunity meets education – you can’t just sit there and wait for the right opportunity to come.”

Mentees enjoyed the rest of the event exploring the pathways into the industry through bespoke workshops available in Media, Coaching and Career Development, whilst also being able to interact with professionals in their chosen field through one:one mentoring.

The attendees also heard from former Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie who shared how he moved away from the sport to take up a career in professional boxing, and his campaigning around mental health awareness.

The successful event was summed up by Ryan Conway, a mentee who had travelled from Leeds the previous evening to attend the conference. Ryan detailed his incredible journey through his university degree to working within the sports industry, despite great hardship with his personal life.

It was a day to saviour for mentees and mentors alike at Emirates Stadium, and below is a selection of some of the feedback from the mentoring conference: