Sporting experts present the path to success

Posted on Friday 24th February 2017

Leading sporting experts gathered at the University of Bolton on Thursday (23 February 2017) for a conference to educate students about working in professional sport as part of the Teaching Intensive, Research Informed startegy.

Staff from the GB Taekwondo Olympic team, Lancashire Thunder Cricket Club and professional football teams presented on how their roles and the challenges of working in such a competitive industry.

The one-day conference was held in the Social Learning Zone for students studying Sport Development and Coaching, Sport Rehabilitation, Sports Science and Sport, Leisure and Physical Activity courses.

‘It’s been an exciting day,’ said Anna Fitzpatrick, Head of the School for Sport and Biomedical Sciences.

‘We’ve had lots of guest speakers from professional sport in to speak to students, from Chief Executives to Performance Managers through to professional athletes. It’s a mark of why the school has one of the best employability rates in the North West with around 80 per cent of our graduates going into serious professional first time employment.

‘It’s also a testament to the University that our academics are hybrids; they’ve cut their teeth in industry, at the real sharp end. They know what employers want, they know what sort of sacrifices have to be made. They’re bringing in high quality guest speakers to help the students get that edge, get out there and get the employment they deserve.’


Performance Programme Manager at GB Taekwondo, Jayne Ellis spoke on her role in the multi-medal winning team. At the Rio 2016 Olympics the team won gold, silver and bronze medals and recently entered into a partnership with the University for students to take placements at the organisation.

‘I’ve come to talk to the students to give them an insight into what it’s actually like to work in a multi-disciplinary team,’ said Jayne.

‘We set up a partnership last year and so far we have taken two students with two more to come.

For us it has been a really positive experience because the types of students that come to us, not only are they technical good, but they’re also very good in terms of getting down and getting the job done.

‘When you come in at that level that’s what you’ve got to be able to do. They’re very savvy in terms of understanding their environment which they come into. Their communications skills have been really good and that’s the type we’re getting and for us that’s a massive positive.’


Jayne Ellis, Performance Programme Manager at GB Taekwondo

The conference featured a mixture of speakers from different backgrounds and varying experience. Neil Dalton, Phytsiotherapist at Carlisle United FC recently completed his 1000th game on the touchline. He spoke to students about his 22 years in the sport and how, after all that time, he still finds the job incredibly rewarding.

‘I hope the students got a perspective from someone who is working in the ever-evolving world of professional; how it’s not as glamorous as what it looks on the television and for the big Premier League teams who are travelling abroad all the time on chartered flights.

‘You have to get in there and get stuck in. It’s an achievement to get there but it’s rewarding work. It’s such a satisfying career.’


Neil Dalton, Carlisle United FC Physiotherapist


Ben Mansford, CEO Leeds United FC


Jenny Cross, Lancashire Thunder Physiotherapist