Case study

Sports development officer — Maddie Massey

Since graduating from her foundation degree in 2011, Maddie has enjoyed a successful career in sports development and now works for Active Gloucestershire

What were the steps you took from graduation?

When I graduated from the University of Gloucestershire in 2011, I was offered a role in the USA at a company called Maine Premier Soccer. I worked in its office and coached a variety of its soccer teams, gaining valuable sports development experience.

Upon returning to the UK, I spent a lot of time looking for entry level jobs. After plenty of searching, I was offered a role at the Dorset Football Association. Here, I gained two more years of sports development experience - and a promotion.

How did you get your current job?

The sports development officer role I currently hold was advertised in a monthly newsletter from Active Gloucestershire. The job described was a complete departure from my existing role, but I felt ready to take on a new challenge and expand my skillset. I sent off my CV and cover letter, and was then invited to a series of interviews before being offered the job.

How relevant was your foundation degree in securing your job?

It was very important. Most sports development jobs require applicants to have a relevant foundation degree as a minimum, so it was definitely the platform for getting into this career. My course covered topics such as sport and social exclusion, current policy and practice issues, football in the community, and sociology. This gave me a sound knowledge of sports development. It was also beneficial in helping me to understand my role in different sports-related settings.

Describe your typical working day

Most days involve office-based work, such as keeping track of projects, researching and arranging new meetings. I also attend numerous events where I can network, increase our profile, generate new sports projects and find out how our organisation can help other institutions get physical activity on their agenda. I then find ways to implement this with my colleagues and other relevant partners.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The best thing about working in sport is having an incredibly positive impact on a wide range of people. I also love meeting lots of very different people from other organisations and learning about what they do, before working together to get more people physically active. My colleagues are a further positive. They are just as passionate about sport and its wider impact as I am.

What career advice do you have for other foundation degree students and graduates?

Get relevant experience to complement your studies. Ask yourself: what will make me stand out compared to other graduates? Pursue the experiences you need to meet the person specifications of the jobs you find most attractive. Finally, never give up trying to get into your dream career. It may take a little while, but getting a job that you love doing is well worth the wait.