International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the globe on 8th March every year, and this year’s campaign theme is #EachforEqual, which promotes the concept that an equal world is an enabled world.
Today we’re celebrating all of the outstanding women at Fleetwood Town Football Club, including our Facilities and Operations Executive, Natalie Gradwell, who tells us how she’s become successful in a typically male dominated industry.
After graduating from the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) with a First Class Honours degree in Football Business and Finance, Natalie was offered a full-time role at the club five years ago, and she has never looked back.
“I’ve always wanted to work in football,” said Natalie. “It’s something I enjoy and have always been surrounded by, and so working in this industry gives me the opportunity to combine my career with something I love.
“I spend the majority of my days preparing for matches, planning the safety and security elements such as steward numbers, operational plans and matchday procedures, and liaising with the police and away clubs to gather intel on the upcoming fixture, fans and information we need to be aware of.
“On a match day I rotate in the role of safety officer, conducting stadium checks on the day of the match, delivering the steward and referee briefs, and I have ultimate responsibility for the safety of all those within the stadium.
“After a match I will complete a lot of reports internally and externally on a range of matters from pyrotechnic incidents to the costs incurred for the fixture. I also balance this with ensuring the stadium is legally compliant in all aspects, by ensuring all the necessary periodic compliance tests are completed along with regular stadium checks.”
Natalie loves her job, which shows that being a woman in a typically male dominated industry isn’t something to be afraid of, and you can use it to your advantage.
“The football industry is male dominated, however there are more and more females now emerging in the industry,” said Natalie. “I’ve attended numerous training courses and gained several qualifications through the club, the most significant being my NVQ Level 4 in Spectator Safety where the vast majority of safety officers in the UK are male and ex-policemen.
“I will be very different to the stereotype and norm for this role, however standing out isn’t a bad thing!”
Finally, Natalie has a piece of sound advice for females wanting to get into this industry.
“Don’t see being a minority as a disadvantage - use your qualities and ability to your benefit. If you are capable of doing your job, your gender should never be a barrier.”
Natalie will be completing her NVQ Level 4 in Spectator Safety in the coming weeks, and is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a successful, qualified safety officer working within the football industry.