Rory has a degree in sports science and works for a local authority.
I have been a young athletes development officer, employed by a large Midlands local authority, for the past 18 months. It is no exaggeration to say that it is my dream job, as it combines my love of athletics with the pleasure of developing young people's talent and abilities. It involves plenty of physical activity and time outdoors, as well as having the intellectual challenge of motivating and coaching young people in a wide range of athletics disciplines and events.
I chose this career as I have always loved sport, particularly athletics. When I was a teenager I competed for my county and achieved a good level of success in county and national competitions. I decided to pursue my love of sport by studying sports science at university and I continued to compete for both the university and for a local athletics club. This club is where I am now based, although my job takes me all over the county, often to schools and colleges.
I applied for the job after seeing it advertised in Athletics Weekly. The role required coaching experience and experience of working with young people, as well as an interest in athletics and evidence of having motivated and developed young people in a sporting field in the past. A relevant degree was desirable, but not essential, as were coaching qualifications. It was also necessary to obtain full Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.
I felt that I was suitably qualified as I had a degree in sports science as well as coaching qualifications in athletics that I had gained whilst at university as an assistant coach to a group of young, middle distance runners. I applied for the vacancy and after an interview and demonstration of how I would deliver a coaching session to a group of ten-year olds I was successful in gaining the job. I was delighted as the competition was stiff and this type of job is relatively rare: most counties only have one or two people in this full-time paid role, with many other people assisting in a voluntary capacity.
My role is very varied and interesting. I am responsible for developing the participation and success rates in youth athletics in the locality. In practice this involves running young athletes club nights at the athletics club at which I am based. I also run holiday schemes that involve upward of 100 young people attending the club daily for week-long taster sessions. During these events children and young people from eight-years old participate in lots of different athletics events, often ending in a mini-Olympics event. I also run taster and regular coaching sessions at local schools and organise one-off special events for specific groups, for example young people with disabilities.
There are very few downsides to my job; occasionally I have to cope with very challenging behaviour from children and this can be hard to deal with. However, for the most part I find the young people a great pleasure to work with.
I am not sure where the future will take me; at the moment I am still developing my current role and loving every minute of it.
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