The sport and leisure industry boasts a wide range of jobs to choose from.
BY CAMILLA HADLAND
Whether you want to work in sports science, coaching, policy or any other sport and leisure related job, it’s important to work out what suits you. To help you decide, there are many opportunities for work experience or trainee schemes in the sport and leisure sector and programmes like these can be great if you’re a more practical learner.
This kind of sport and leisure placement can be useful at any point in your education, whether you undertake one during your school career, as a school leaver or at university. UK Sport, Sport England and the English Institute of Sport all provide search engines for careers and work placements within the sports sector. It’s also useful to look for opportunities in your local sport and leisure centres and through your local sports partnership – www.sportengland.org/our-work/
If being a personal trainer interests you, independent businesses who offer placements or training opportunities are often based at local sports facilities and it would be well worth approaching them for work experience and advice. It’s always useful to have experience under your belt if you want to pursue a career in sport so keep your eyes open for anything that may pop up in your area. Also, don’t forget about voluntary work for sports clubs or institutions. Even though you won’t be paid to volunteer, to be able to say you have will look great on your CV if you’re applying for jobs or to go to university and bear in mind that volunteering can sometimes lead to a permanent job.
Most national governing bodies in individual sports offer qualification opportunities in coaching so if it’s a particular sport that you want to be more involved in to get into a career in coaching be sure to check out the coaching qualifications 1st4sport – www.1st4sport.com – have to offer. No previous experience is required to gain a Level 2 coaching qualification in any sport and you can study for this qualification from the age of 16. They can also be done in conjunction with university degrees in sports coaching – 1st4sport also offer qualifications in other skills, such as officiating, first aid and injury management, along with a whole host of other practices which are on offer as qualifications for those wishing to expand their knowledge of sport and careers related to the industry.
If you’re researching sport and leisure related degrees, it is important to choose a course that offers elements that appeal to you and which offer benefits for your particular area of specialisation. For those who are interested in the more scientific side of sport, there are plenty of Bachelor of Science degrees (BSc) available at universities around the UK. From really broad sports science courses, to courses which are more specific in other elements of the subject, such as biomechanics or nutrition … there are plenty to choose from.
If science isn’t your thing and you’re more interested in the social and political elements of sport in the UK, and around the world, there are also many Bachelor of Arts (BA) courses that cover topics such as the politics of, and issues and controversies in sport as well as covering subjects like how the government forms policies and designs campaigns to engage more people in physical activity.
There are also courses in sports business and management for those interested in working within sports companies or you could consider doing a degree in sports journalism. Remember to check out the course content and see which modules the course teaches and whether it’s right for you – some may contain several of the courses mentioned above in a combined degree. Going to university not only educates you but it’s also a great place to make connections and meet potential employers.
Read up on and research your options to ensure that the course you opt for includes elements of the sports you enjoy. Remember that experience is invaluable, no matter what you want to do or what you end up doing so start looking as early as possible for the opportunity to get some sporting experience under your belt. It doesn’t have to be paid work – future employers will regard any volunteering you do very highly too – gaining experience is never a waste of time and will help keep your options open along the way to a successful career in sport and leisure.