A university has teamed up with its local football club to offer a unique scholarship to aspiring female footballers and journalists.
The University of Derby has announced a partnership with Derby County which will allow three scholars to take up fully-funded places on its football journalism degree course from 2019.
The successful applicants will also play football for the Derby County Ladies side, as well as the university’s own team, during their studies.
The scheme is being piloted this year with 18-year-old Olivia Fox among the students benefitting.
Olivia, from Kent, told University of Derby student publication StoryHub: “My first experience of university has been brilliant. Everyone I’ve met has been lovely and so welcoming – just what you want when you’re miles from home.
“I joined up with both Derby and the University team with a hint of nerves but I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
“However my first experience of my course was actually during the summer break where I was invited to cover the “omen’s Under-20 World Cup in Brittany. This was a truly amazing experience where I learned first-hand the rigours and rewards of journalism.”
Peter Lansley, senior lecturer on Derby’s football Journalism course, said: “One of our aims at the University of Derby is to help as many women journalists as possible enjoy studying with us. We’re striving to redress the gender imbalance in sports reporting – recent research indicates that only 1.8 per cent of sports bylines in national newspapers were women’s.
“We believe the scholarships, alongside our course, will give more women the platform they need to develop into the world of sports journalism while also driving up standards of women’s football at the university and supporting our local club’s bid for FA Women’s Championship status.”