Students hear from alumni at first virtual Talk Sport Conference

A montage of eight headshot photos taken from meetings on MS Teams, on a pink background

On 4 February 2021, twelve alumni volunteered to share their expertise and career experiences at the annual Talk Sport Conference, helping to inspire the next generation of Loughborough graduates.

Throughout the day, alumni delivered individual and group sessions on women in sport, strength and conditioning, sports science, and more. Students from across a range of disciplines who are interested in pursuing careers across the industry logged on to the online sessions throughout the day.

Sue Anstiss MBE, CEO, Fearless Women; Penny Briscoe OBE, Director of Sport, British Paralympic Association; Alison Oliver MBE, CEO, Youth Sport Trust; and Karen Rothery, Non-Executive Director at Triathlon England, came together to form the Women in Sport panel early in the day.

More than 100 students were keen to hear from the group, with topics such as challenges in sport, getting into the industry, and pivoting into sport from a different sector being covered.

Karen commented:

“From my experience at BUCS, it’s clear that students who play, volunteer, or manage sport, all have demonstrable facets to them that employers seek. They actually seek out the skills and experiences that you can develop through all those aspects of sport.”

Closing with a few top tips, alumna Penny, who is also the Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, said:

“Don’t be closed in how you think you can make that entry into sport, it could be holding a clipboard or making tea! If you can get into that environment that you’re passionate about and you can demonstrate your value, you will find that openings do appear.”

Other sessions included an insight into sports science from alumnus Sam Erith, Head of Sports Science at Manchester City FC; Sports Agents with alumnus Simon Bayliff, Founder and CEO of ARETÉ; and Sports Psychology with alumnus Tim Wyatt, who is working with Leicester City Academy.

Tony Strudwick, Head of Performance at FA Wales delivered a session on Strength and Conditioning, whilst alumna and current PhD student Amber Guest was joined by university academics for a session on academic pathways into sport.

To close the day, three alumni formed a panel and were in discussion with the University’s Executive Director of Sport, John Steele. Rebecca Caplehorn, Director of Football Operations at Tottenham Hotspur FC; Jamie Hooper, Founding Director, Inclusive Cultures; and Liz Nicholl CBE, President of the International Netball Federation, talked about their career journeys within sport.

Covering experiences in not-for-profits, national governing bodies, and premiership football teams, the trio answered a range of student questions during the session including diversity in sport, finding a mentor and networking in the industry, and following your passion.

Alumna Liz closed with a top tip:

“If you can join an organisation where your values align, it is incredibly powerful.”

Thank you to our volunteers for sharing their expertise.

Find out more about volunteering at the University.