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Friday 2 November 2018

Gaining real-world experience to support academic studies is key for many degrees at Solent, and the sport coaching degrees are no exception. Recently, a group of first year students from BA (Hons) Sport Coaching and Sport Development and BSc (Hons) Sport Performance Coaching visited St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton FC, to find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Club’s community charity, the Saints Foundation.

This formed part of the Coaching and Volunteering in Sport Development unit. Through the unit first year students on both degrees have the opportunity to gain real-world experience volunteering with the Saints Foundation. The unit, developed in partnership with the Saints Foundation, is based on a mutual understanding that students need the opportunities to work in the real-world environment to further develop employability skills, network and develop throughout their time at university and beyond.

Sport coaching students speaking to Saints Foundation project officers

Upon arrival, the students were given a talk by Ian Butcher, Workforce Development Senior Officer at the Saints Foundation. He talked about what the Saints Foundation does, before outlining what the morning was about, and the importance and benefits of volunteering in coaching.

The students were then able to meet with the project officers from the Foundation to learn about the work they do, and talk to them about volunteer coaching opportunities in areas such as the wider community, within schools, disability sport and coaching girls’ football.

Sport coaching students speaking to Saints Foundation project officers

A Solent graduate who now works for the Saints Foundation said: “The opportunity to work with Saints right from the first year on my sport coaching and sport development degree gave me the right skills to be employed straight after university”. 

Similarly, lecturer in sport education and development, Kola Adeosun said: “These placements are so important for the students. Coaching young people within the local community with the Saints Foundation is vital for them to gain solid practical experience. It’s not only a key element of the course, but it will also help them prepare for their coaching innovation projects in the second and third year, as well as developing their future employment prospects.”

These opportunities for our students are a large part of the partnership between Solent and Southampton FC and the Saints Foundation. The close working relationship we have has enabled students to learn from experts at the club, as well as gain work experience and even employment on graduation.

Sport coaching students speaking to Saints Foundation project officers