"It was quite a surreal moment to be honest," said 22-year-old Mr Hollands, who graduated from the University of East London in September 2021. "I still can't quite believe that my first experience in the industry was working on the Olympic Games for the official broadcast partner. It doesn't get any better than that!"
Now Mr Hollands has another career highlight to add to his growing professional CV. For the past couple of weeks, he has been back at Eurosport, covering the Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022 where his role as a quality assurance editor and content manager saw him creating content shown on the premium Eurosport Player.
"When the opportunity came up to return to the Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022 it was a no brainer," he said. "I worked in a team of six to eight people. We created the titles, features, descriptions, and images that appeared alongside the video assets shown on the Player.
"It was very rewarding, although it did have its challenges, especially when there was a technical issue, but I like to think we played a part in helping make Eurosport and Discovery's coverage of the Games as good as it was."
The opportunity to work at Eurosport came through a UEL Arts & Creative Industries alumni, Sam Few, who on graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism in 2019 became a permanent member of the pan-European sports network as a quality assurance editor.
Working closely with UEL Sports Journalism programme leaders Adam Powley and Dekan Apajee and with the support of Eurosport head of digital content Tom Adams, Sam has initiated a programme to give students paid work experience with the sports network.
Mr Few said, "During the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we welcomed a selection of students from the Sports Journalism course at the University of East London to support Eurosport's coverage on our premium product, the Eurosport Player.
"The students carried themselves superbly, showing professionalism, commitment and versatility to successfully complete their work to an impressive standard both individually and as part of a team.
"Their work left the door open for further opportunities with Eurosport such as the current Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022. We hope to continue this relationship with the University of East London, providing more opportunities for students in the future."
Speaking about the initiative, Mr Powley said, "We are delighted to see the success of UEL Sports Journalism students working at Eurosport. It's great to see them putting into practice what they have learned on the course – this is testament to their skills and hard work, and our focus on employability and preparing students for the 'real world' of the media industry. Eurosport have provided a superb opportunity and we look forward to our ongoing partnership."
Eurosport is just one of the many networks and media outlets with whom UEL's Media and Journalism school has strong links. These successful industry partnerships ensure students receive on-the-job training and experience throughout their course and when they leave UEL have the right skills and connections required to succeed in their chosen fields.
As Mr Adams says, it's essential to get on-the-job training while studying.
He added, "Anyone at University needs to be building up their portfolio in preparation for when they leave. It's very important. I would advise trying to develop a range of skills and demonstrate relevant experience in those fields. Especially for entry level roles, it's really good to see CVs where people can show they are passionate about sports media, across written editorial, social, video, audio etc.
"In this industry being able to juggle a few areas is an asset. Try things, get yourself out there, and most importantly have a passion for sport and media that shines through in your work and interviews."
So, given his own recent experience of leaving university and starting out on his chosen career path what advice would Mr Hollands give?
"I would definitely recommend getting your CV, covering letter and online portfolio sorted early on so it's much easier to apply for jobs. Apply for everything and anything that interests you - don't think "Oh, they're looking for someone who has this, whose done that, etc..." because you'll probably never apply for anything!
"It's also going to be tough - all the top journalists know about rejection, it's happened to them all, so don't give up. Keep on pushing for stuff and keep yourself busy. Freelance work shows you have initiative and how much you want it. I wrote for a magazine for the last four years and didn't get paid a single penny, but it's all experience.
"In addition, try not to compare yourself to other people. In this industry, everyone takes a different path depending on where they want their destination to be - some will take longer than others. Similarly, don't be afraid to change the path you wanted to take either.
"Lastly, your friends at uni will remain your friends when you finish, but then they'll also become your contacts within the industry - that's important to bear in mind!"
And what's next for Mr Hollands?
"At the moment, I'm still on a short term contract but in this industry, you never know what's around the corner. It's all about keeping your contacts warm and never letting them completely forget about you, especially if you’re lucky enough to get such an amazing opportunity straight out of Uni like I did."
Find out more details about UEL's BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course.