Ulster University helped me achieve my current career success by...
giving me the foundation learning required to forge a career in sport and offered me the opportunity to put learning into practice through a work based placement.
Activities I was involved in at Ulster to enhance my employability
My placement opportunity in Year 3 was hugely beneficial. In a very competitive market I believe graduating with a years worth of valuable work experience helped me get a start in sports development ahead of others
The connections I made both personally and professional continue to be of real value. The more experienced I have become the more I realise the importance of networking, sharing knowledge and collaboration.
How placement enhanced my employability
I was extremely fortunate in my placement year with the Boys & Girls Clubs NI to not only gain great sports development work experience but a fantastic mentor in Terry Watson. On graduation I believe this put me ahead of others in terms of employment
How study abroad enhanced my employability
I spent some time coaching in America and followed this with a years traveling. I would encourage anyone to do both as travelling gave me the space to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
Top 3 most significant steps on my career path so far
- Making the decision to study an HND in Sports Management. After struggling with A Level's I wasn't sure if university was for me but the knowledge and enjoyment gained during my HND studies gave me confidence and signposted me towards second year entry at UUJ.
- After graduating I took a year out to travel. This was important to me on a personal level but also gave me time to figure out what i wanted to do. Initially I had planned to do a PGCE but a sports development opportunity came shortly after travelling
- Embracing change and knowing when you need a new challenge. My career has taken me from local authority to governing body and now to the NI Football League. Each time I needed that change to keep me motivated and continue to develop.
What would your advice to students be?
They say choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life so find a course that you have genuine interest in and take advantage of any added extra's the course or university offer, this also builds experience and knowledge.
Surround yourself with good people. Find a mentor, network with fellow students and people who want to go places. And don't forget to have some fun along the way!