Sarah Pavano is proof that taking every extra-curricular opportunity pays dividends at the end of your degree.
Pavano, a Bachelor of Business and Sport Management student who will graduate later this year, completed a volunteer and placement opportunity with A-League side and La Trobe University partner Melbourne City throughout her studies.
“I jumped on-board in the 2015/16 season through La Trobe,” said Pavano.
One of our teachers, Pam Kappelides, was posting jobs and volunteer experience that were available and Melbourne City was one of those, and of course, being a City supporter, I put my hand up for it.”
Pavano’s role as a Match Day Volunteer included setting up on match day for Chairman’s Club and other functions that took place at City home games, while also handing out the match day program, The City Insider and doing half-time activations for fan engagement.
Pavano recently finished her time at City but says her support of the club will always be there.
“I still keep in contact with people that I worked with (at City) and I’ve always said if you ever need a hand I’m always here. Part of me will still always be there, supporting them, but we will see what the future holds.”
Pavano’s hard work and dedication throughout her stay was recognised at the recent Melbourne City Awards Night where she received the Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I had no clue prior to the night so when it was announced on the night I was actually shaking,” Pavano said.
“It was not expected at all because I’d only been there for two years. It was a real honour to know that the work that I’d done didn’t go unnoticed around the club. I still can’t believe that I got an award like that from an organisation that’s so big and profound.”
Pavano’s volunteer work also paid off in other ways when she was offered an employment opportunity through her City connections.
“I actually got my current job through a Melbourne City ambassador, Craig Ondarchie. Craig is an MP and I’m currently working with him in his electorate office in South Morang,” Pavano says.
“On the awards night I also met FFV (Football Federation Victoria) CEO Maxwell Gratton, and he gave me some great advice on jobs in the sport industry.”
“His main point was trying to get a mentor within the industry because it’s such a saturated one and there’s so many people coming out of university degrees and there isn’t always enough jobs to cover those graduates.”
Pavano’s own advice to future graduates looking for work in the sport industry is to not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone for new experiences.
“Keep volunteering while studying and not just at sport events or clubs because what you learn in other areas you can take into sport and that’s really what it’s all about from the administration side of sport; being able to run a business and incorporating sport into the business.”