HomeInterviewExclusive: SportsGrad Founder Reuben Williams On Creating Leading Careers Podcast

Exclusive: SportsGrad Founder Reuben Williams On Creating Leading Careers Podcast

Exclusive: SportsGrad Founder Reuben Williams On Creating Leading Careers Podcast

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portsGrad founder, Reuben Williams, spoke exclusively with Ministry of Sport on how he took his business from friendly advice in the library, to one of Australia’s most popular career podcasts.

Where it all began

As a sports fan from a young age, Williams knew he wanted to work in the sporting industry after witnessing one of the most iconic moments in Australian footballing history.

“I wanted to get into sport because way back in 2005 my parents took me long to ANZ stadium to see the Socceroos play Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier,” Williams told Ministry of Sport.

“I was an 11-year-old boy in the stands of arguably Australia’s greatest sporting moment in history, and the feeling of being in that stadium that night where the Socceroos qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

“It made me want to follow a career in the sports industry, and recreate that atmosphere and that feeling, [as well as] that experience for other people as well.

“So that was the moment where I decided I wanted to work in sport,” he said.

What is SportsGrad?

Starting with a YouTube Channel in 2017, Williams sought to provide graduates with the tools and connections they needed to achieve their dream jobs in the sports industry.

Teaming up with Ryan Walker, the pair began the SportsGrad podcast, releasing two episodes a week, speaking with industry professionals and providing advice on how to achieve their dream job.

“SportsGrad is a platform that helps people get into the sport industry,” Williams said.

“We do this through our podcast, the SportsGrad podcast and our community membership where people from all over the world get a chance to connect with like-minded individuals and access some of our exclusive content that helps them break into the sports industry.

“So that’s largely we do at top line level, and the purpose of that is to help their careers, help them get jobs in sport, help them find the jobs that you know that they’ve dreamed of having as a kid which is why we started in the first place.

“Myself and my friend Ryan were both very lucky to start working at Cricket Australia, as soon as we finished our degrees, and that was a dream job for us, so now we’re trying to help other people find their dream jobs in sport,” he said.

Growing the business

But success didn’t come over night.

Williams worked on the SportsGrad Channel for three years before making the switch to podcasts and bringing Walker on board.

“The reality is that we, or before Ryan came aboard, I ran this YouTube channel for three years, and during those three years I had 30 YouTube subscribers,” Williams told Ministry of Sport.

“Then one day we decided to change it up and become a podcast, brought my friend Ryan on board and we became the number one careers podcast in Australia after three days.

“Through those three years, whilst I was talking to people in the industry, I was also talking to students too.

“A lot of them would message me on LinkedIn and asked me: how did you get your job in Cricket Australia?

“What should I do about my career?

“So that gave me a lot of feedback to understand what the students actually need and want.

“I think the biggest thing that has helped us grow, is actually listening to our listeners, and understanding what they need, and what can we give them that’s going to help them.

“So at the start the YouTube channel was very broad and didn’t really have a focus, it was like we’re going to capture insights of people working in sport.

“Now we can do that from our own experience, and we understand very clearly why we’re doing it too and who it serves.

“I think that’s probably the most influential thing that’s helped us grow,” he said.

Partnership with Deakin University

Having recently announced Deakin University as official education partner, Williams said the partnership gives SportsGrad greater access to more listeners as well as recognition.

“I think the sports industry requires a very specific approach to get into it,” Williams said.

“Deakin University have recognised this and have seen that Ruben and Ryan and SportsGrad, what they’re doing solves a problem, and we want to support that as well.

“In terms of access to students, it’s fantastic, but also just recognition from a tertiary institution has also been the biggest thing as well.

“What you’re talking about is actually really valued so that’s kind of been the main thing to come out of it from our point of view,” he said.

What is the plan for the continued growth of SportsGrad? 

Looking to the future, Williams is hoping to grow SportsGrad into a global community that can help people at any stage in their career in sport.

“In the next five years we want to continue to build a global community in the sports industry,” Williams told Ministry of Sport.

“At the moment a lot of our products are tailored towards helping people get into the sports industry, I think the natural evolution is probably providing communities and products that help people who have just started in the sports industry and have different sort of concerns and the different tools, and different advice from different people.  

“Everything that we’ve built so far has come from solving our own problems first, because we understand what we’re facing, so it becomes easier to deal with it.

“I think as we kind of grow with SportsGrad, and with our community as well, we’ll get an understanding of the new problems that arise, and build new communities, and new products to help so solve that overtime.

“But I think at a high level, we’re really excited about building a global community of the next 5 to 10 years and allowing that to be a place where people can connect anywhere across the world,” he said.

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