Ulster University helped me achieve my current career success by...
being able to complete a degree programme which ignited my serious interest in a career in sport. My degree programme also gave me a solid foundation in sports science/strength and conditioning through a number of modules, the university also helped open a number of doors in terms networking opportunities.
Activities I was involved in at Ulster to enhance my employability
I got my first taste of applied sport science when I volunteered to take part in a research study under Dr Mark Fogarty and Prof. Gareth Davison which opened my eyes to the real world of sport science support and allowed me to interact with applied practioners.
I then spent a period of time volunteering with William Moore in the Performance Services department at Ulster University which led to a full year on placement, constant day to day contact with coaches and athletes which really accelerated my development.
In terms of applied modules, the strength and conditioning module with Dr Rodney Kennedy also was a highlight for me, it had a great blend of science and more importantly applied practice. This hands on approach certainly helped when working with athletes.
How placement enhanced my employability
Placement gave me the opportunity to work with coaches, athletes and administrators every day which allowed me to develop a range of skills including team work, communication and helped me to put into the practice the scientific support my degree. A degree is just the start, experience is essential.
How study abroad enhanced my employability
Throughout my studies I didn't take up any opportunities to study aboard. In hindsight I should tried to explore the world and take in different cultures and ways of operating.
Top 3 most significant steps on my career path so far
- Doing a voluntary role with William Moore during my second year of my degree was a game changer for me, it opened my eyes to real world work and real world elite S& C support. Although it was hard at the time it helped lay the foundations of my career.
- Getting a full time position working for Cricket Ireland was another massive step for me, it forced to develop a new range of skills and experiences working with a number of people. It also gave me the opportunity from an early age to work with top level coaches and athletes.
- Developing my current role which now includes a number of S& C staff and a number of consultants. This has enabled me to take on more management duties and has allowed me to develop leadership skills.
What would your advice to students be?
Don't be in a rush to be employed and working full time, enjoy the journey and give yourself the time to develop a range of skills, experience and knowledge. Volunteer and get experience all the way.
Get a mentor that you can trust and that you can bounce ideas about with, someone that you can speak to on a regular basis about sport, life, jobs. I am very lucky that I can call on a number of people at any time. Don't try to go solo!