Student led Sports Academy helps communities to get active

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A new Sports Academy led by Staffordshire University students is offering free workshops to schools, sports clubs and local communities.

The programme will deliver a range of outreach activities across sport and exercise science, sport and exercise psychology, sports coaching and performance, plus sports therapy.

The Sports Academy is designed to encourage physical activity and raise aspirations among young people and communities at greatest disadvantage by providing a taste of key subject areas of sport within higher education. In turn, student volunteers get real world work experience to boost their employability skills.

Gareth Barrett, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise, explained: “We created the Sports Academy to support students’ situated learning. It runs alongside their modules and gives them the opportunity to work with academic staff, technical staff, and external partners. There are opportunities for placements, internships and it supports networking out in the community.

“It will increase confidence, social skills and teamworking because students will be working together across the cohort; you’ll have sport therapists working with sports scientists, then you’ll have sports coaches working with the therapists, so they can all learn from each other.”

Siana Holding, studying BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, recently visited St Joseph’s College to deliver fitness and performance testing with Year 8 pupils and will analyse the data as part of her studies.

She said: “I volunteered for the Sports Academy because it was a placement opportunity to gain experience in a versatile sports area. We deal with different athletes, different ages, different genders and I thought that was a good opportunity to be a part of.”

Fellow volunteer Jude Worrell added: “I want to go into personal training in future so it’s a good opportunity coming to a school and working with children to get more information on how to teach, and that’s going to be transferable.”

The Sports Academy also offers a Junior Talented Athlete Scheme which provides a pathway for aspiring young athletes to study at Staffordshire University. Athletes on the scheme will have the opportunity to use Staffordshire University’s state of the art sports labs on campus and complete an accredited continuous personal and professional development (CPPD) module.

Gareth added: “It is our civic role to promote social mobility in the region and we wanted to create a pathway for young people to come into university. The Junior Talented Athlete Scheme bridges the gap of transition from school or college so that students can come into uni fully prepared and enjoy the experience instead of being afraid of the experience.”

For more information about the Staffordshire University Sports Academy please contact Gareth Barrett on

Amy Platts

Media Communications Officer

t: 01782 292702

07799 341911