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Thursday 11 July 2013

Sport Solent interviews

We recently spoke to Julia Tucker-Blackford, a Partnership Manager here at Sport Solent. Julia shares her experiences in the sporting industry and tells us what it took to get her where she is.

What is your role within Sport Solent?

Schools and Colleges Partnership Manager.

Have you always wanted to work in the sport and leisure industry and if so, why?

Yes always, initially I thought I wanted to teach PE, but didn’t think I would enjoy working with young people that didn’t want to do PE and disrupted lessons, so I thought coaching would be better.

What has your academic and professional journey been so far and where do you foresee it leading you?

My background is in leisure management, I managed leisure centres in London. Like most started, off as a lifeguard, leisure attendant and coach and worked my way up. I had a year working with a marketing department, had a crazy year as a environmental enforcement officer (don’t ask!) and then was a business manager for a primary school. I then became the Partnership Development Manager for Southampton School Sport Partnership before coming to Solent.

What is your sport? (played, watched and/or enjoyed)

My sport is basketball. I played National Division 1 from the age of 16 and represented England. I am not much of a spectator, but obviously enjoy watching NBA and WNBA games.

What have you enjoyed the most working in the sport and leisure industry so far?

I have made so many good friends. I love the banter and comradery. I like the interaction with young people. I love the fact that you can change a young persons life through introducing them to sport. You can help them raise their self esteem and confidence and watch them grow through sport.

Julia Tucker-Blackford.

What would be your advice for any graduate/young person wanting to start a career in sport?

My advice would be get involved in as much as possible now! Competition for careers in sport are fierce. You need to set yourself above the rest. Clock up as many volunteering hours as possible, within as many different sporting environments and across as many sports as possible. Gain experience of working with various people form various age groups.

Select some coaching qualifications that demonstrate you are versatile, for example, trampolining, gymnastics, take yourself out of your comfort zone. Working within a sports office to learn what happens behind the scenes and get involved in all aspect of the industry. Don’t let people down, it’s a small network and most people involved in the industry know each other and talk!

What is the best bit of advice you have ever heard? And the worst one?

Best – don’t stop at the first hurdle, think outside the box and look at ways of being innovative and creative.

Worst – wing it! Not a good idea, always prepare for all circumstances.

If you had to be trapped in a lift with anyone famous who would it be?

Dawn French – that would be a hoot!

In a parallel universe where would you be, and doing what?

Coaching a WNBA team in a hot part of the states, LA Sparks would be my first choice.

What would your last supper be?

  • Mixed Thai selection of fishcakes, spring rolls, chicken satay.
  • Beef panang with jasmine rice.
  • New York cheese cake.
  • Washed down with a bottle of Rose.