Kick It Out hosted its Women’s Raise Your Game event at Manchester City yesterday (Thursday 8 June) as mentees gathered to hear from a selection of inspiring guests.

Supported by the Premier League, the Raise Your Game (#RYG17) mentoring series is for people who wish to forge a career in football or explore alternative career opportunities in the game.

Kick It Out is continuing its efforts to diversify football’s workforce and ensure the game is reflective of society in 2017 and yesterday’s event was aimed specifically at women.

Hosted at The Etihad, guests were welcomed by the BBC’s Jess Creighton as she introduced a panel made up of Victoria Haydn (Manchester City’s Senior Club Photographer), Rachel Brown-Finnis (ex-England international), Shelley Strange (Reading FC’s Academy), Lucy Oliver (FA referee) and JJ Jewels (grassroots referee).

They discussed their careers and advice they’d be given, with the importance of asking questions and networking coming up multiple times. Lucy provided advice about being “stubborn with your destination, but flexible with your journey” to mentees.

It was then quickly on to the workshops with three choices between a ‘pitch-side panel’, media and a careers/CV workshop.

Jess hosted the pitch-side panel, alongside Helen Sandall (Lead Physiotherapist Manchester city Women FC), Ellena Turner (Talent Scientist at Manchester City’s Academy), Emily Hill (Children and Young People Football Development Office at London FA), Janie Frampton (Sports Officials UK Ltd) and JJ Jewels and Shelley Strange, who featured on the opening panel.

The media workshop was led by Anna Thompson of the BBC with Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend leading the careers/CV workshop.

The morning finished with the opportunity for some informal mentoring, allowing mentees to approach the professionals in the room for advice and guidance.

After lunch, Vicky Kloss (Chief Communications Officer at City Football Group) talked about her varied career before it was time for further workshops and mentoring.

Troy Townsend, Education Manager at Kick It Out, said: “Women’s Raise Your Game is a much smaller and informal event than our national conference and that allows people to spend some good quality time with the mentors we had in the room.

“We had an excellent array of speakers and panellists who all brought their own experiences to the event. Our guests were keen to find out more about their own pathways into the industry so it was pleasing to see so many conversations going on and no doubt they will prove fruitful.

“Our thanks go to Manchester City for going above and beyond and providing a wonderful setting, to Jess Creighton for hosting and to Shelley Alexander for all her input behind-the-scenes and making the day a success.”

Omar Berrada, Chief Operating Officer, Manchester City Football Club commented: “The work that Kick It Out continue to do to promote career opportunities for women and girls is extremely important and something Manchester City is proud to support.

“We hope that all of those who attended the conference and met with some of the women working across our club, ranging from our content team to sports scientists, have been further inspired to pursue a career within the football industry.”

Host Jess Creighton added: “The day was a great success with advice being handed out and people sharing expertise. It’s fantastic to see so many found the experience valuable.

“Kick It Out does great work in terms of making football more inclusive. The organisation works hard to break down barriers and create a message of unity.

“Football is slowly coming round to the idea that it should be more representative of its audience, it’s not quite there yet so that's why it’s important for Kick It Out to be here.”