Dream job at the Commonwealth Games comes true for Jade

Going back to education has helped Jade Smith to embark on a new career in sport event management and has led to a dream job working with the Commonwealth Games.

Jade Smith
Jade Smith

Faced with health challenges, Jade realised she needed to change professional direction and decided to study for a degree in Events and Festivals Management at University Centre Shrewsbury.

Jade, 31, from Telford, now plans to pursue her ideal job in organising sporting events and is currently working on the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.

Jade had previously been working as a post person at the Royal Mail and her daily routine included walking around 10 miles a day. In 2016, Jade suffered a sudden cardiac arrest whilst playing rugby. After fighting her way to a full recovery and being fitted with an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator), she was told she would no longer be able to engage in sport or activity as the risk of a repeat arrest were too high. This lifestyle change included giving up her employment with the Royal Mail.

She said: “Due to ongoing health problems, I was unable to continue my previous career. At 26 years old I decided on a complete career change. I always had a desire to study at university. Having previously volunteered with local charitable events for many different causes, I recognised the joy and excitement I felt being involved in both their planning and delivery. So, the option to study Events and Festivals Management at UCS seemed like a perfect choice with a particular interest in the Sporting Events module which the course offered in year two.

“Since gaining my first-class degree in Events and Festivals Management at UCS, I have been able to successfully start my career in event management. I have experienced working within cultural events, wellbeing events, local government events and most recently major sporting events.

“During my time at UCS, I faced many different challenges. Some more significant than others, but each tested me and through each of these experiences I learnt that I was far more resilient than I knew. It would have been easy for me to excuse poor results and blame them on my circumstances, but I knew I couldn’t let that happen and continued to work my hardest even through some very challenging times.”

Jade worked alongside her studies, enabling her to gain vital skills including how to adapt live events to virtual during the pandemic.

She said: “During my studies, I was employed by the Shrewsbury LGBT+ History Festival 2021 as events co-ordinator. Due to the global pandemic, this role involved converting the previously live festival into a series of online events. This role enhanced my experience in event management and also enabled me to build skillsets in online events. We successfully hosted our full programme of over 30 events, without any cancellations. My employment here taught me about ticketed events and developed my experience in the community and working with a diverse and inclusive client group.

“I am currently employed by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. I began my career with B2022 as a venue operations co-ordinator, but I have been promoted to venue operations manager, working specifically on the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls event at Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa. My role at the Games so far has been an exciting journey of personal and professional development. I have been able to put what I learned at university into action and I now have the opportunity to further develop my learning into a leadership role in the major events industry. My future career will hopefully be a natural progression into the venue management of sporting major events.”

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