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Chris Shields

BSc (Hons) Sport, Exercise and Leisure
Graduated 2001
Fitness Education Manager
Ulster Rugby


Ulster University helped me achieve my current career success by...

providing me with an education that enabled me to apply appropriate theory into practice. Throughout my time within the IRFU and Ulster Rugby I have worked with countless ex-Ulster University graduates both internally and across the wider sporting spectrum. - Chris Shields

My Journey

  • Activities I was involved in at Ulster to enhance my employability

    Working as a tennis coach part time during term time.

    Doing a placement with the PSNI

    Working at Camp America

    Gaining a Gym Instructor qualification which enabled me to work as a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer at Comber Leisure Centre

  • How placement enhanced my employability

    Practical work based projects on placement encouraged me to take responsibility and be accountable for my actions. I have undertaken numerous placements in a variety of sectors. Some were challenging, boring and highly random – each however gave me a meaningful experience and helped focus my future career choices.

  • How study abroad enhanced my employability

    After graduating I went to York University in Toronto to study a PG Cert in Athletic Therapy which was fantastic in terms of what I learnt but also the networking and work opportunities that followed. Gaining employment is often about differentiation – studying abroad can help set you apart.

  • Top 3 most significant steps on my career path so far

    1. The personal and occupational experience I gained during my time in Canada gave me the opportunity to work within a university varsity sports programme and also with a professional team, the Toronto Argonauts.
    2. Coming back to Northern Ireland to set up my own Sports Injury and S& C Clinic (Athlete Care). The lessons learnt from running your own business are invaluable.
    3. Volunteering with Ulster Rugby, leading to full time employment.

What would your advice to students be?

Travel and work abroad as much as possible – especially in countries where English is not the 1st language.

Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Don't waste your time trying to impress everyone and take responsibility for both your mistakes and your achievements.
- Chris Shields