Case study

Community golf development coordinator — Chris Emsley

Find out why making positive connections is so important in the sporting industry and discover what Chris loves about his role in golf development

How did you get your job?

After completing my sport studies degree at the University of South Wales, I went on and did a PGCE in PE.

I spent some time as a supply teacher before getting a job with Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) as a 5x60 Officer. This was based within a school and the aim of the programme was to increase levels of participation in sport and physical activity.

After a year, my role was extended to involve managing the E3+ programme, which was an extended curriculum programme. The overall aim of this was to give young people opportunities to do things that would improve their confidence, life skills, employability and leadership.

In 2014 I got my current job with Golf Development Wales. My previous roles were a huge influence in getting this job as I had gained such a rounded experience.

The main link between the role with RCT and Golf was the fact that I was working day-to-day in sport and managing projects.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Very relevant. The topics we covered, in particular the employability experience we were given, has played a huge role. There are people who I have dealt with during my time in the profession who I first met when on placement at university. These early relationships emphasised to me how important collaboration is and it's something I prioritise in my role.

What are your main work activities?

My days vary quite a lot but a typical day could consist of an early-morning club meeting, a lunch club meeting and an afternoon club meeting. At these, we will discuss ideas to develop a certain priority within their club, such as attracting more juniors. The meetings will often involve another partner, which links back to my collaboration point.

How do you use your degree in your job?

My degree has given me knowledge of certain subjects and of how to utilise students in projects. I also gained useful experience from placements.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love how flexible it is as this allows me to be creative. I've also got a passion for sport, and golf in particular, so being around sport on a day-to-day basis is very enjoyable.

What are the most challenging parts?

Like anything, people make things enjoyable or difficult. I like a challenge and some people certainly provide that.

We're also working hard in golf to move away from some traditions that are having a negative effect on the development of the game.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Last year I started doing some mentoring and have really enjoyed it, so I would like to still be involved in this. This experience is ultimately what has influenced me to be interested in how people are motivated and how they develop.

For this reason, in the next five years I would like to be in more of a managerial position within sport.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Get as much hands-on experience as possible and make positive relationships. Knowing people and making a good impression is vital as you never know when they will be able to help you.

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