The interns’ perspective: Thriving in the sport industry during COVID-19

When La Trobe Sport’s 2020 internship cohort applied for the program some 12 months ago, it’s fair to say they had no idea that they would be completing their internship from home during a global pandemic.

For La Trobe University students Lucy Mulqueeny (Bachelor of Business), Stefanie Stratiou (Bachelor of Business – Sports Management), Alanna Mullan (Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Media and Communications) and Tricia Mifsud (Bachelor of Media and Communications – Sport Journalism), 2020 has served up its fair share of obstacles, challenges and uncertainties that no one could  have anticipated.

But whether it be studying, working or interning remotely, all four students have emerged with a unique workplace experience and a broadened skill set that will hold them in good stead as they prepare to make the transition from their final year of study to entering the sport industry.

Here’s how all four adapted and thrived in a year and internship experience like no other.

Confidence is key for Lucy

As the Representative Sport intern, Lucy Mulqueeny’s role relied a great deal on sports participation. But with little to no sports being played this year, the work she would complete changed dramatically.

Adapting to the changing environment and finding herself in roles she wasn’t expecting to be in has sparked a new sense of confidence in Lucy.

“It has helped me with transforming my online presence and also given me more confidence in my own ability and ideas,” Lucy said.

“Prior to this, I didn’t really much faith in my own ability, and the team here at La Trobe Sport has encouraged me to come out of  my shell and to have more confidence in myself and the ideas that I have.”

Along with her newly found confidence, Lucy has also learnt that being adaptable in your career is important.

“I’ve learnt that organisation and being flexible is a crucial part to a future career, because as this year has shown, anything can be thrown at you.”

Strategising Stef: Planning sport events in a COVID-19 environment

As the Community Programs, Events and Facilities intern, Stef Stratiou has arguably had one of the more difficult roles this year – being a part of the team who created events that kept the wider La Trobe University community active and connected throughout lock down.

“I have taken part in helping La Trobe Sport promote and present events and challenges to staff, students and the local community to keep them fit and engaged through lockdown,” she said.

Some of these events included the Campus to Campus Walk and Run Event, La Trobe Sport Walk and Hunt Challenge and the Push Up Challenge to name a few.

“I have spent a lot of time creating event plans and event briefs, and also had opportunities to be in contact with all La Trobe campus representatives to help spread the word of La Trobe Sport's events and projects.”

Stef recognises that the work she has been involved in this semester would likely not have been possible anywhere else, and she is grateful for the connections she has made in the process.

“(I’ve been) able to meet and work with people who are encouraging and have allowed me many opportunities to take part in La Trobe Sport events," she said.

“This will allow me to be more confident and ready for anything that a workplace puts in front of me.”

Alanna adapts to a new world

For Alanna Mullan, there was doubt that she would be able to gain the complete hands-on experience that she had hoped for when applying for La Trobe Sport's Media and Communications internship.

“The original plan was for me to work with La Trobe’s inaugural University Basketball League (UBL) team in a media manager capacity,” Alanna said.

“But with the cancellation of the UBL due to the pandemic, this was no longer an option.

“However, this led to other opportunities within the internship to fine-tune and expand my skillset while also assisting La Trobe Sport fulfil their key aim during COVID-19 – keeping people connected with their community.”

Alanna found herself involved in the marketing and advertising of La Trobe Sport’s virtual campaigns, in particular #ActivationInIsolation. This gave her the experience she had hoped for in being involved in the planning, creating and promoting of a sports event.

Ultimately, Alanna was taught even as the world faced a global pandemic, there was some way to be actively involved in the sports industry and to encourage her audience to believe the same.

Tricia tackles digital transformation

Tricia Mifsud's biggest fear as she began her Media and Communications internship was adapting to the “new-normal”.

However, as she settled into the first couple of weeks of her internship, she learnt ways to still feel connected to her team.

“As someone interested in both sports and communications, you want to continually be surrounded by like-minded people, working as a team,” Tricia said.

“Once I put myself into a mindset that my team was there to support me, just virtually, it made it easier to continue with the internship.”

The digital transition has taught Tricia that there are endless opportunities to be engaged with sports not always necessarily on a game day, and it is this that she appreciates as the most important learning during her time with La Trobe Sport.

“I’ve learnt so much about how to be involved digitally in the sports industry and have been trusted to complete so many tasks that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to do in another internship.”

La Trobe Sport currently have three internships available in 2021 for students to gain experience within the sport industry. To apply for any of these internships or to find out more information, click here.