Head of Academy Sport Science, Doncaster Rovers FC
In my opinion Leeds Trinity graduates are miles ahead of graduates at other universities with sport science degrees because of the work experience factored into the course.
Why I chose to attend Leeds Trinity
It was very easy for me to choose Leeds Trinity. I'm originally from Leeds, the course was based around Strength and Conditioning and I was doing an internship with Doncaster Rovers at the time which was fairly local
How Leeds Trinity prepared me for my career
First and foremost, the lecturers are superb and because the University is small the tutors know you by name. I always felt comfortable speaking to lecturers, and the University had a real personal feel to it. Secondly, the timetable at Leeds Trinity was extremely flexible, which allowed me to continue my development as an intern at Doncaster Rovers all year round. As well as this, the University schedules time at the end of each year for all students to do work experience. Spending time working in an environment related to your course, and putting the skills learned at university to use in a practical setting where it really matters, is crucial to your career development.
Getting a job at Doncaster Rovers FC
I got the job at Doncaster Rovers due to my experience. Throughout my studies I worked for the club. I started off working one day a week in the first couple of years and then progressed to two to three days a week when I started at Leeds Trinity. In November 2017 I became the Head of Academy Sport Science.
Securing a great role after graduating
It was a great feeling. My commitment and hard work was recognised, progressing to a full-time role was a massive achievement for me. I felt like I worked hard to keep a balance of gaining work experience and completing all my University work. For the club to bring me in made all the time, commitment and hard work throughout the course worth it.
Drawing Arsenal in the Carabao Cup in September 2017 is definitely up there. If you work in football, go to a place like Arsenal and if it doesn't motivate you, then nothing will. Everything about the evening was incredible. It was an amazing to experience behind the scenes at the Emirates and work at one of the best stadiums in this country. In recent weeks prior to this game, I’d been given licence to lead the match day warm up, so it was a real pleasure for him to give me the opportunity to do the same in this fixture.
Obviously graduating after four years of hard work is a memory that will live with me and my family for a long time. I still remember my first day at Leeds Trinity. I was obviously nervous stepping into a new environment, but after meeting the lads on the course and the tutors I knew I'd made a good decision. I've met some lifelong friends and had a lot of great memories along the way including some great nights out in Leeds and late nights in the library
My advice to current sports students
Take every opportunity! This was the advice given to me right at the start of my university life. I chose to stick with Doncaster Rovers, but this advice means dip into different sports and environments if you get the opportunities. The variety of experiences look great on your CV and a lot of fitness methods in sport are transferable.
In my opinion Leeds Trinity graduates are miles ahead of graduates at other universities with sport science degrees because of the work experience factored into the course. It's a brilliant opportunity to make connections and test the water. Experience is vital.
There are opportunities out there, however, they won't just come to you. You have to be prepared to work hard to get them. I was never the model student, nor the most academic. I tried to work hard at University. I worked just as hard to get my opportunity in professional sport and I intended to keep it. People talk about 'marginal gains' and I knew this opportunity would develop me. There were times I travelled a five hour round journey from Crewe to Doncaster and back to spend four hours at work doing hydration tests, getting paid £30 in expenses which barely covered my petrol costs or train fares
I've lost count of the number of times I've left my student accommodation for work in the morning to walk past people only just coming in from a night out. As well as the number of times in my first two years I'd broken down thanks to the 12-year-old car I could only afford at the time. As a result of that setting off even earlier to walk to the train station in the freezing cold but I knew I was making these 'marginal gains'. There are thousands of sport science graduates up and down the country wanting these opportunities too, make sure you're willing to go further than anyone else
Finally, if you don't already, get a LinkedIn account, this is a great way to make connections and find opportunities.