Zoe McGrady

'I Want To Be That Role Model I Didn't Have'

For Zoe McGrady, Sports Turf Apprentice at Leicester City, International Women’s Day is an opportunity for women’s achievements to be celebrated, while also recognising the importance of females in the workplace.
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- Zoe McGrady shares her story on International Women’s Day (Monday 8 March)
- The 19-year-old is a Sports Turf Apprentice at King Power Stadium
- She hopes to inspire other women to break into the industry 

The 19-year-old, who started working for the Football Club in August 2020, is aiming to break down barriers in her role and explains how she wants to see more female involvement within the Sports Turf industry.

She credits her team for the support she’s received and now wants to help other females to feel comfortable to break into the footballing world.

Celebrated annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day is a global event highlighting the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

Zoe said: “I’m part of the grounds team here at LCFC, so essentially we look after the pitch, cut it, mark it, sort the lights out and of course prepare it for matchdays.

“It’s pretty much a 24/7 job as the grass doesn’t stop growing! I love it though and enjoy coming into work every day.

“I always thought when I was growing up how difficult it must be going to job you don’t like, so I used to tell myself I wouldn’t fall into that trap – I feel like I’ve pretty much won with this job.”

I’ve been very lucky because the team here at Leicester have been so supportive and very welcoming. They’ve helped me so much.

Zoe McGrady Sports Turf Apprentice

Zoe is focused on forging a successful career but wants to see more acceptance of women in the industry.

She added: “The work is obviously manual labour, and if you’d told me when I was younger that I’d be doing something like this as a job then I’d have laughed in your face.

“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s easy work, but I’ve shown that I can do the job and although it’s male-dominated, it’s not just for men.

“I’m obviously very new to the industry but I’d like to see more acceptance that this type of work can be done by women.

“I’ve been very lucky because the team here at Leicester have been so supportive and very welcoming. They’ve helped me so much.

“For me, I want to be as good as them at it, and potentially even better. I’m ambitious and want to do well.”

She feels the lack of role models in the sports turf industry could be a factor in the number of females involved, something she is eager to change.

Zoe continued: “I had no idea of any women in the sports turf industry when I first started the job, but gradually over time I’ve got to know a few more people and follow some of them on Twitter.

I’m passionate about what I do so I want to change perceptions and for other women to know that it’s absolutely okay to do something like this as a job.

Zoe McGrady Sports Turf Apprentice

“I don’t think there’s anyone prominent enough for me to look up to yet, so in my head if I can be that person in say 10 years’ time then that would be amazing.

“I want to be that role model that I probably didn’t have when I first came into the industry.”

Zoe is keen to change stereotypes and is proud of herself for pursuing her passion.

“It can be strange explaining to people what my job is because they just don’t understand why I’d want to work in such a male-dominated environment," she said.

“They just think I turn up on matchdays and cut the grass, but there is so much more to it than that.

“I’m passionate about what I do so I want to change perceptions and for other women to know that it’s absolutely okay to do something like this as a job.

“I’m proud of myself for sticking at it because there have been times when it’s been hard.

“You do have those thoughts during the first few weeks where you’re thinking is this actually for me, but when you see the pitch on a matchday and know you’ve been part of a team to make it look that good then it’s all worth it.

“I want to gradually prove people wrong and show those who may have doubted me that I can do this job as good as anyone else.

“It’s important to not let people’s comments affect you. You can do anything you put your mind to, it’s not always going to be easy and there may be challenges, but if you want it enough then there’s no reason why you can’t do it.”

Please click HERE for more information about International Women’s Day.

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