After a career change, Paul graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011 with an MA in Sports Development and Coaching. He now works for a sports charity as an outreach officer.
Following graduation in September 2011, I realised that competition within the sport development market was tough and I didn't have much experience in the field, so I undertook a three-week unpaid placement at Greatersport. Gaining this experience provided me with more gravitas when applying for jobs. After applying for a few jobs, I got an interview and was successful.
My degree was very important when applying for the job as it was included on the 'desirable' list on the job specification. Transferable skills such as time management and organisational skills when planning coaching lessons and writing essays proved very useful for my current role.
As an outreach officer, my main role is to build relationships to enhance the charity's sports programme. It involves attending meetings and identifying partners who can add value to the programme. These partners may be volunteers, sponsors, personnel (coaches) and facilities staff. As the new boy, I also have to make the teas!
My career ambitions are to go and work for a national governing body, hopefully British Cycling, in a management role. However, I'm happy at the moment gaining as much experience as possible as I still have a lot to learn.
My favourite part of the job is providing sporting opportunities for people who would never have an opportunity without the charity's influence. I have always loved sport and so now being able to combine working in sport for a good cause gives me great satisfaction.
The biggest challenge I have faced so far is dealing with the frustration of working with sometimes seemingly inefficient organisations who expect everyone else to do the work for them. However, the more I deal with them the more I develop coping strategies and ways to combat this challenge.
I feel that this is a great sector in which to look for job opportunities, as there is a lot of interest and funding due to the 2012 Olympic Games, making the sector a potentially good place to be in with regards to future opportunities.
For anyone wanting to get into this sector, I would suggest not being too selective in what you want to do. Have a very open mind, and gain plenty of experience in terms of volunteering within the sector as an undergraduate. The latter is vital in gaining potential employment.
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