Rob Staton, 27, is a sports journalist from Yorkshire. He has spent several years working as a freelance journalist before becoming a full time member of the sports team at BBC Radio Sheffield.
At the station, Rob’s duties include presenting shows such as Football Heaven and Praise or Grumble, commentating on South Yorkshire’s six local clubs and working to provide breaking news and reports to the fans.
Over his career, he has covered events such as Playoff finals at Wembley; World Title fights in Miami and cold Tuesday nights at Accrington Stanley.
In Rob’s spare time he manages and writes a successful blog on the NFL, which at its peak has attracted two million visitors in a month.
Media careers are notoriously difficult to get, how did you get to where you are today?
In order to achieve full time employment I had to search for any experience I could get. At the age of 16 I volunteered at Hospital Radio for two years and worked several days a week for free in my own time. I arranged several work placements, home and abroad. Throughout my time studying at University I was permanently looking for opportunities to add to my CV, including travelling back home every weekend to commentate for one of our local clubs.
I spent a year living in Canada starting with no employment, accommodation or money. I applied for any job going and in a matter of months I was managing a store in downtown Vancouver despite having no previous retail experience.
What do you love most about doing what you do?
Even as a kid I always wanted to work covering sport in South Yorkshire. I grew up following the fortunes of the different teams and sports in the area and this is all I ever wanted to do. If you like sport there aren't many better places to live in the country and I'm proud to be part of a great organisation at BBC Radio Sheffield providing a service to the people in this region.
Why do you think you are successful at what you do?
Just wanting something badly enough to work at it. If you're getting up every day and looking forward to what challenges you'll be faced with, it's a lot easier to be successful. The hard part is working out exactly what you want to do, but the sooner you come to that conclusion the easier it'll become.
How do you keep motivated?
I'm fortunate to get a lot of support from my family, which can never be underestimated. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve with your working life helps to set manageable goals. If you're always trying to improve, you remain motivated. There are knock backs along the way and times when you'll hit a dead end, but you've just got to keep working. Don't be afraid to seek out good advice and use it.
What would you say to a young person who is feeling uninspired about life and work?
Be pro-active. As soon as you start to come up with excuses for why something isn't happening, you're just putting a roadblock in front of your potential. Don't limit yourself but try to set realistic ambitions. Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone to impress someone and never say 'I can't'. You won't be handed things on a plate, you've got to get out there and make things happen. Don't take rejection personally; just be permanently ready for the next opportunity. Look for ways to stand out even if it means making a real effort.
Seek advice from people who have achieved things similar to your own ambitions.
What do you think about The Big Academy and the work we’re trying to do, in helping all young people to get inspire and achieve success?
Good advice and support is crucial to young people particularly when it comes to starting a career. The most important thing I ever did was discovering what I wanted to do, but for some people that can be a really difficult decision. Once you know where you want to go and what you need to do to get there, you will be successful. Having someone who can help you find that direction can make all the difference.
Sometimes you need that bit of inspiration to give you a kick-start.