Key responsibilities in my current position include monitoring the fitness, strength and conditioning suite to make sure correct technique is being used for safe and effective training. Also providing the delivery of fitness sessions and designing fitness programmes are my responsibility. I will also have the chance to work with university sports clubs on the fitness side of things, as well as have the responsibility of setting up courts and equipment to competition standard. Secondary roles include operating reception on occasion and making bookings on the operating system.
Working in a team of 9 fitness staff who all started at the same place as me, a Sport and Exercise Science degree, some are further in their careers experience wise and have been working with Olympic standard athletes. Over 350 people applied for my position so to have been in the 9 selected and work for one of the most prestigious sporting universities in the country is a reward in itself, but the chance to work with and gain knowledge from such an adept team is also magnificent.
The £16 million facility is brand new, which is brilliant, and working with athletes at both elite and amateur level is probably one of the most valuable things about this job. I’d have to say the administration side of the role is the most challenging as it doesn’t particularly interest me.
My degree in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Northampton played the ultimate factor in gaining my position, but most athletic and sports clubs and leisure centres are looking for you to have additional qualifications, such as your REP’s qualification or UKSCA accreditation.
For me, I knew something like that would separate me from the rest of the graduates on my degree so as soon as I finished my last exam I booked onto a REP’s L3 advance personal trainer 6 week course. This opened up a massive wave of job opportunities and served as a bonus in separating me from people with only a degree, or with only a REP’s qualification.
I would say my study helped massively both for career and personal development, the Sport and Exercise staff during my time couldn’t have been any better if I wished for it. My degree is now the foundation of my career, without it I simply wouldn’t have a career in sport science.
Attending the University helped me develop from my late adolescence into adulthood. Three years is a long time and it was a great opportunity for me to start being independent, your parents will always be there but ultimately you have that freedom for your personality to really flourish. Being forced to go out of my way to meet new people is something that really boosted my self-confidence and made me the person I am today. Important personal skills really improved for me during my study, learning how to motivate yourself and set goals, as well as manage time are all acquired through university because there is no one to do it for you.
My physiological and biomechanical understandings of the body functions under the demands of sport have been really enhanced, which proves useful when working with athletes. I’ve also gained valuable knowledge on disease and injury which has proved a massive importance when dealing with the general public and it gives me the opportunity to pursue a career in physiotherapy in the future.
In terms of advice I would give to any undergraduates interested in this work – enjoy yourself while you study, but remember why you are there and try to get the highest classification you can. You are basically competing with your peers for the top vacancies in your field when you graduate on one of the most popular degrees in the country.
Pick up additional qualifications or experience that will be relevant to your targeted career, which is what will make you stand out from the crowd and most employers in this field demand them.
The staff are fantastic at the University, they go above and beyond when it comes to supporting you which is fantastic when you need it. The course itself offers around four different areas you can choose to focus on by the self-selection of modules which is brilliant compared to a fixed selection – it gives you the opportunity to gain more knowledge in an area you are particularly interested in. Overall the course was brilliant for me and I wouldn’t have done it any different.