Graphics students are on the ball with internship opportunity

South Essex BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration student Will Thatcher and BA Creative Media and Promotion, Flick Anniss from University Centre South Essex, have completed work placements at West Ham Football Club.

They began their placement with the club in January this year, whilst studying.

Will and Flick produced a variety of work for the football club, including graphics for social media channels and slide decks & documentations for various departments. West Ham recently introduced new brand guidelines for the 2023/24 season, so they had to follow them and apply them to all their work.

Flick told us: “I enjoyed my time working at West Ham United, I met some great people and it made me realise that I want to work within the sports industry. I am thankful to John for gaining us this opportunity, that has led me to receiving multiple interviews from the likes of Man City and CAA (creative artist agency).

“I learnt more about E-Comms, merchandising and buying which isn’t covered on the university course even though it is a massive sector in the fashion industry.”

They created templates and refreshed the identity for the supporter services Twitter account, such as the banner and avatar. They also produced a lot of work for the women’s first team and academy, involving Will’s own matchday graphics for the players at the 2023 FIFA women’s world cup.

Will told us: “The best part of this program was the help I received from the people I worked with. I had lots of advice, portfolio reviews and even a mock interview to help my job search. I was nervous when I started, but everyone was friendly, and I felt like part of the team despite only being part-time.

“I've walked away now with many contacts and have grown tenfold as a creative. Studying for a degree helped prepare me, but the progression you can make in a real-world environment is second to none.”

Flick said: “I enjoyed being on set for the new kit shoots the most, networking with Umbro, Unmarked Agency and photographer Tom Barton who gave me some great advice. Being on set is where I feel most comfortable, the marketing team allowed me to join and take the lead on making sure all poses were captured. It was great because it gave me the confidence to speak up and give my opinion to both the stylist and photographer which they followed and thanked me for.”

The internship allowed Will to gain a lot of insider knowledge of how a business works.

He said: “The role  involved a lot of listening and learning so I could take away as much as possible and football clubs are a very fast-paced environment, especially in the build-up to a new season.”
Will added: “Being behind the scenes at West Ham was an incredible experience. It was fascinating to see what started as an initial idea to being displayed outside the stadium or on TV. Generally, I enjoyed travelling to the stadium, the excitement around the office after a transfer rumour, and getting to see the games.”

John Chandler, HE Programme Partnership Manager said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our HE students to get a real-life experience of working in the amazing atmosphere of a Premier League Football Club. I am so proud of what Will and Flick achieved working at West Ham alongside their final year degree commitments and I’m sure they will go onto have amazing careers in their respective fields.”

Flick plans to work within the Marketing/PR/Communications sector of Motorsports, and wants to work at a sports agency to get more experience. 

She has now graduated and is currently working as a Marketing Assistant for 4 ACES Ltd, a sustainable food packaging company. She produces their social media content, and any marketing materials needed for exhibitions, customers, or the sales team.  

Jackie Ferdinand, Director of Safeguarding & Inclusion at West Ham said: “Will and Flick’s transitions into employment and placement with leading international sports agencies are the impact we planned and hoped for. The ambition of the partnership work was to give talented students of pupil-premium backgrounds a doorway into working in an elite environment and the opportunity to network.

“Witnessing Will and Flick blossom and confidently grow was a pleasure and privilege. We benefitted vastly and provided fresh ideas and creative output, which the Club will continue to use and build upon. The outcome of working with South Essex College and both students securing work in their chosen field after their time with us is incredibly satisfying and rewarding.”

Will has graduated with a first class honours degree. He has now started a fantastic new job as a graphic designer at IMG | Seven League, a consultancy and digital marketing agency working with major sports brands such as the NFL, Premier League and NBA. Will wants to continue working in sports and has ambitions to be a creative director one day.