Loughborough Alumni


4 Feb 2020

Alumni contribute sporting expertise at student conference

On 30 January 2020, as part of the annual Talk Sport Conference, more than 20 alumni were involved in workshops, panel activities and speed interviewing, helping to inspire the next generation of Loughborough graduates.

Opening the day with an insightful keynote speech, alumna Alison Oliver shared stories of her career journey and her experiences of the sports industry. The Geography and Physical Education alumna is currently the Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust and discussed her passion for engaging young people in sporting activities. She said: “The role you go on to do can make a difference to other peoples’ lives”.

Throughout the day, alumni delivered sessions on sports media, development, strength and conditioning and sports science, engaging students from across a range of disciplines who are interested in pursuing careers across the industry.

One of the sessions was delivered by Geography alumna Katie Shanahan, a presenter for BBC Sport. She shared her career journey so far through sports media. Katie is a former Hockey international and said that her experience as an athlete certainly helps her to resonate with the sportspeople who she interviews.

Alumnus Jack Sharkey is the Lead Sports Scientist for Aston Villa Football Club. Jack, who graduated with an MSc in Exercise Physiology, shared an insight into the day-to-day nature of his role with the Premiership team, as well as giving students a sneak peak into the types of player activity and movements that are monitored.

Strategic Lead for Health at Sport England, alumna Sarah Ruane, delivered a session on Sports Development and working within a non-governing body. Sarah, who has a degree in Sport and Exercise Science, said that she is most proud of “working on a campaign with leading health charities to use exercise to help people who are living with health conditions”.  

Three alumni, Sue Anstiss MBE, Jennie Cooper and Steve Mitchell were part of an industry panel. The trio engaged with audience questions and shared top tips and advice on a range of sports sectors with the students. The group encouraged students to build networks, be open to new opportunities and to be braver when considering jobs and career paths. One key piece of advice from Sue was: “keep reading and learning and immerse yourself in the area that you love”.

A Women in Leadership panel also took place as part of the conference. The session was aimed at students in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) who are interested in leadership roles in the future. Alumnae Dr Alison Maitland (Head of Product and Research at Lane 4 Management Group), Aimee Ramm (Chief Inspector at Leicestershire Police) and Dr Vicky Thakordas-Desai (Chartered Principal Forensic Psychologist) joined a panel on the topic, sharing insights into their roles in consultancy, the police force and forensic psychology respectively. Vicky encouraged students to seize every opportunity and to persevere.

To close the day, a dozen alumni came together to conduct mock interviews with final year students from SSEHS. Students had the opportunity to be matched with alumni and employers working in all kinds of roles from coaching and performance to public relations and leadership from organisations such as the FA and the Youth Sport Trust.

Thank you to our volunteers for a great range of sessions.

Find out more about volunteering at the University.

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