National Volunteer Week: Opportunities aplenty for our Young Leaders

City in the Community (CITC) couldn’t deliver its range of football and non-football-related programs without the work of participants in its Young Leaders Program.

Over the past few years, however, many of the hardest-working and talented people involved in the program have made the decision to move on from their volunteer roles – and that’s a good thing.

The Young Leaders program comprises one of Melbourne City FC’s primary avenues for recruiting skilled individuals into paid employment with the Club, where they can further impact social change, or find a fulfilling challenge working in other departments of the organisation.

Events and Operations Coordinator Josie Mirarchi is one such example: “I started as a Young Leader whilst finishing my University degree, and then gained a full-time role as Program and Events Coordinator in CITC the month I graduated.”

“Since then, I was offered a new role entirely away from CITC, and have become a part of the Events Team.”

The volunteer Young Leaders are people aged between 16-24 who are responsible for delivering CITC’s social programs and match day activations across both the A-League Men’s and Women’s seasons. Through their involvement in such programs, Young Leaders pick up and refine skills that are conducive to working within the sports industry.

“Young Leaders learn and enhance a range of skills due to having to adapt in such a fast-paced, professional sport environment,” Josie says.

“Organisation and communication skills are very important and are further developed both on a matchday role as a Young Leader or if a role involves running school programs and football clinics.”

Jake de Kretser is a current Young Leader and Melbourne City FC employee who credits the program with helping him to develop such traits.

“One skill I would say I have improved on is my ability to be more outgoing and vocal in general,” Jake says.

“Before becoming a Young Leader, I was quite a shy person at first and was generally quite socially anxious, which is something I still can improve on, but in just the nine months that I have been involved with CITC, I feel my confidence has greatly improved.”

Jake began his involvement with CITC after signing up to a two-day Young Leaders program, which he describes was “an amazing opportunity to meet new people, learn about CITC and get involved with Melbourne City FC”, and he has since commenced paid employment as a City Football Schools (CFS) coach.

“[I coach] 5–10-year-olds, using the philosophy and methodology that is carried out by Manchester City and the City Football Group as a whole,” he says.

“In my sessions, I try to place a high value on having fun and building relationships with the players I coach.

“This allows the players to truly enjoy their time in my CFS coaching sessions, learning new skills, improving their tactical awareness, all whilst having fun and enhancing their love of football.”

Izzy Johnson is another Young Leader turned CFS coach who delivers content to a slightly wider age range than Jake, working with children aged 5-14. Recently, Izzy was part of a group of Young Leaders who travelled to Canberra to play a friendly match against a team of Members of Parliament on the grounds of Parliament House.

“With lots of laughs and some good passages of play, the game was very enjoyable, but the Young Leaders came away with the 7-4 win,” she happily reports.

The opportunities afforded to Young Leaders who go on to paid employment with the Club aren’t just limited to Melbourne City, either. Recounting stories of others who’ve followed her path from the Young Leader program, Events and Operations Coordinator Josie reports, “Another colleague, Nick Schmull, started as a Young Leader and moved into a full-time role within CITC.”

“Recently he has transitioned into a new role as Community Coordinator for City Football Group in the Middle East, and is based in Abu Dhabi.

“The opportunities are endless after much hard work and dedication!”

With these individual stories comprising just a few of the countless instances globally of the City Football Group’s Young Leaders progressing into professional roles within clubs, the program is a proven source of prospective future employees eager to lead fulfilling careers in the sports industry.

The opportunities, as Josie says, are endless.