Two players from Royal Holloway Women’s Football Club (RHWFC), have embarked on a trip of a lifetime to Barcelona’s legendary Camp Nou stadium this month, as part of Santander UK’s initiative to support female talent in both their sporting and professional lives.
Alissa and Niamh
Alissa Chohan, third team captain, aged 20 and Niamh Emma Mullan, first team captain, aged 21, from RHWFC were selected to go to Barcelona and join a programme of events, tours and training with other female footballers from other UK universities.
The programme, organised by Santander Universities, is designed to help build critical thinking and management skills for female talent, both through sporting and wider leadership activity.
The activities kicked-off with a panel event on women’s leadership, with contributions from Maria Teixidor, Board Director and Company Secretary of Barcelona FC; Laura Ràfols, FC Barcelona; Matias Rodriguez Inciarte, Vice-Chairman Banco Santander & President of Santander Universities; and Susan Allen, Head of Retail and Business Banking, Santander UK, with the session moderated by Manroop Khela, Head of Transformation & CEO’s Office, Santander UK.
Alissa and Niamh also had the opportunity to benefit from a training session with Chapi Ferrer, professional football coach and ex-player of both FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC.
In addition, and in celebration of Santander’s sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, Alissa and Niamh got the chance to watch Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and their Barcelona team mates play in the club’s vital round 16 tie against Olympique Lyonnais.
Niamh Mullan, a third year management student at Royal Holloway, said: “It’s such an incredible opportunity, I feel very honoured to be able have this experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how diversity is important not only in sport but in a business environment.”
Alissa, a second year history student at Royal Holloway, added: “This is an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded people to develop participation in women’s football, to develop our skills being trained by professional coaches and being able to attend a champions league men’s match witnessing the greats at the highest level.”
Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, added: “We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to top female football talent from across the UK to help develop their leadership skills, both within and outside a sporting context. We are committed to supporting higher education and we know that those selected for this programme are equally committed to their sport, investing hours into training and are an inspiration to their peers both on and off the pitch. We hope the trip will motivate and support female talent with their career ambitions – whether in the world of sport, finance or beyond.”
Emilio Botín launched Santander Universities in Spain in 1996, as an effective vehicle for business investment into its communities. The programme now has over 1,200 University partners across 20 countries. Santander Universities UK launched in 2007; encompassing 84 universities, and providing over £10m of funding in 2018 alone. The programme focuses on education, entrepreneurship and employability giving all students the opportunity to succeed.
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