Job title Communications officer
Employer British Swimming
Make a splash and land your dream job in sport
If you love a certain sport and you have an outgoing personality, you might consider going into PR and communications. Gemma Field, Senior Communications Officer – British Swimming, did exactly that…
“I’m responsible for the day-to-day promotion and media management for diving, synchronised swimming and Para-Swimming,” explains Gemma, who despite admitting she fell into the role by accident, also says she absolutely loves what she does.
“My job involves anything from managing press conferences to giving media training.
“I got the position by accident. I always wanted to work in politics but it was an ex-boyfriend that suggested I give PR a go. After a few weeks of work experience with British Judo I had fallen in love. Eight months later I moved to British Swimming and have remained here for seven years. I really wouldn’t change anything.”
In 2012, Gemma worked during the Olympic Games in London and when tournaments are held around the world, she gets to travel with the various teams under her watch.
“I love the buzz of being at a competition. In my role I am often the first person an athlete sees when they finish. In that moment you need to work out how to get them through the mixed zone successfully.”
“Being a press officer for TeamGB and ParalympicsGB in London is something I will always remember,” she explains. “I learned so much throughout that summer. There were so many achievements and amazing performances. I am really proud to have been part of the teams.
“I love the buzz of being at a competition. In my role I am often the first person an athlete sees when they finish. In that moment you need to work out how to get them through the mixed zone successfully.
“Working in busy mixed zones when everyone has time scales to work to can be tough. Journalists have deadlines to meet and athletes need to get to their warm down, but you have to make sure that all parties are happy and get what they need.”
Not surprisingly, then, Gemma suggests you need to have good people skills to succeed in this area.
“I would say you need to be flexible with your time, be good at multi-tasking and also good with people. I would also recommend you getting involved with sport as much as you can, as early as you can. I did work experience with a sport and learnt a lot about PR. I was lucky because when I did my work experience the Head of Comms was really well known within Olympic sports and that helped with my future positions. So, volunteer, get work experience and show you have the desire to go that extra mile. It will really pay off.”