How to take advantage of career-shaping opportunities at University

Life can be VERY good for a sports student at the University of Worcester, if you know how to take advantage of what the uni has to offer.

The most common question I got asked on the last interview day was, what are the work experience opportunities like for Sports students here? Well, maybe the second most common to where is the toilet, but I deemed this slightly more important!

When I was asked this, I would tell them honestly that, every week, people like Sheli Morgan and Craig Williams  (Coach Education & Development Manager) e-mail us coaching courses we can sign up to for either a discounted price or for free, and give us countless job or placement opportunities to take advantage of.

But do enough people take advantage of these, or take the initiative to look themselves?

Me in commentator training for the British Wheelchair Basketball Association!
Me in commentator training for the British Wheelchair Basketball Association!

On first glance, I would like to say yes! Every coaching course I have done at the University has been either fully booked, or close to, which is a good sign. But what about industry experience?

In just 18 months at the University I have:

Recently, we’ve had an event at the Arena where local primary schools came for a session with students on the Sport and Disability module. This is another great example of opportunities being provided for students.

The Sport and Disability day set up by Glynn Harding and Dave Mycock for their module! Work experience during a module to take advantage of!

One of my friends, Luke Johnson, who is on the Sport and Disability module, said: “It was great to have the chance to teach the kids some disability sports they hadn’t previously heard of, like wheelchair basketball and blind football, to help raise awareness!”. 

Spoiler: If you are a basketball fan and you usually come to the Wolves games, Luke is sometimes the kids’ attraction: the big furry creature called… Wolfie!!!…shhh, don’t tell anybody, TOP SECRET!wolfie

Back to the original story though, I suppose this  sounds very much like I’m blowing my own trumpet (and maybe I am a little 😉 ) but the point I am trying to make is that there are a RIDICULOUS amount of opportunities out there, especially for sports students! You just have to take advantage of them!

So here is a quick and easy guide to obtaining placements and work experience at the University that may just land you a job, or form a clear career path for you once you have completed your third year!

STEP ONE:  Take the time to read the e-mails Craig and Sheli send you and talk to them!

I promise you, they are lovely people! And, perhaps if they know you are interested and what your skills-set is, you will be the first one to hear about the next big opportunity that comes up! Bye-bye competition!!

STEP TWO: ALWAYS check the bulletin/notice boards in the gym on St. John’s Campus, and at Riverside!!

These are absolutely littered with both volunteer and paid placements directly related to sports in the area! I am not Level 2 qualified yet for any sport, but every time I check those boards I wish I was, because there is a shed-load of opportunities to earn good cash for just a few hours coaching a week!

STEP THREE: Don’t undersell yourself.

Once these opportunities come up, you have to be able to grab them with both hands. Make sure you have an up to date CV, making the most of every bit of work you’ve done, and make sure you are prepared for any interviews. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and all that jazz!

 The view of the square at Edgbaston from where I did my performance analysis! Not a bad gig!

The view of the square at Edgbaston from where I did my performance analysis! Not a bad gig!

STEP FOUR: Search for opportunities, and approach people yourself!

Don’t be afraid to just ask about opportunities in any place you want to go! The whole reason I have been working with Worcestershire Cricket  is because I approached them about possible opportunities there.

Craig and Sheli are great, and they work incredibly hard, but we can not rely on them spoonfeeding us!! Take advantage of your time at Uni, use the University’s name, and land yourself a killer placement in a place of your choice.

So there you have it! A very brief guide to opportunities at the University, and how to take advantage of them! Plenty more will undoubtedly come up soon, so be sure you cash in!!

Your degree is very important, but the goal here is to be as employable as possible. And if you can back your 2:1 or 1st with a good amount of placement experience, or multiple coaching qualifications, a company is going to have to try very hard to come up with a reason to not take you on!!

Plus, you get to look important, just like me in those photos!