Samuel Akpan’s efforts to build a career in sports have received a major boost with his securing of a long internship at the Premier League.
Sam (OE 2011–2018) won an 18-month placement at the world’s most-watched sports league, where he will spend six months each in three departments.
And he is not the only Old Elizabethan at the Premier League: Piers Martin (1987–1994), son of Chairman of Governors Barrie Martin, is currently the league’s Head of Leadership and Academy Workforce Development.
“The Premier League is probably the best possible place to learn about the complete system of élite football – so I am very much excited by the future,” said Sam.
“The first department I was assigned to was within the football development team, which Piers is a senior figure on – focusing primarily on supporting and developing non-coaching staff off the field, such as academy managers and heads of operation. I certainly wasn’t expecting to meet an OE at the Premier League, but it is a very small world!
“I’m really enjoying supporting the operational element of organising events, working with the digital learning systems and helping contribute to the efficiency of all the different programmes being run. Having an input and being able to offer value to help academy staff is an amazing honour, and it has been very surreal even to visit Arsenal’s youth academy in Hale End.”
Samuel, who graduated in Politics & International Studies from Warwick last year, started making his mark while still a student in fields including social enterprise, sport and anti-racism work at the university. He was named among Future Leaders magazine’s 2021–2022 Top 150 of the most outstanding Black university students in Britain.
As to his future career path, Sam is maintaining a flexible position: “I want to take these 18 months to focus on developing my best skills and understand what this looks like within football, and sport generally.”
The photo shows Sam speaking at the Premier League’s recent Mentor Summit at Villa Park in Birmingham.