Beth Smith: How student volunteering helped me land my dream job

Current postgraduate student Beth Smith is living the dream balancing her Exercise Physiology MSc whilst working with the IRFU Sevens programme. Now in her fifth year at Loughborough University having completed her undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science, Beth reflects on how student volunteering has enhanced her skill set and allowed her to achieve her dream job.

During Beth’s placement year she worked with the Welsh Rugby Union and had the opportunity to work with the British and Irish Lions.  On returning to Loughborough post-placement, she decided to volunteer with Loughborough’s rugby programmes to enhance her skill set and consolidate the new knowledge gained from her year in industry.

“Volunteering at Loughborough allowed me to apply what I had learnt on placement which was more learning, providing and giving, whereas, when I came back to Loughborough, I had the opportunity to analyse the data and provide recommendations. I had more responsibility in what I was doing which has cemented my confidence. I have also been faced with new challenges working with Loughborough as the men’s side have matches on both Wednesday and Saturday, so we have a  high volume of work to manage.”

Beth’s role for the rugby programme was to focus on maximising the athletes’ potential, manage workloads and the return from injury of players. She also enforced athlete monitoring to help coaches understand their players better to provide them with the support they needed.

Working within a multidisciplinary team allowed Beth to gain skills across a range of technical areas, she also had the opportunity to transfer her knowledge to other volunteers and placement students, whilst shaping the way the rugby programme supported their athletes.

Having gained this voluntary experience, Beth was confident this would be the career path she would like to take. In November an advert on social media by the IRFU sevens programme prompted Beth to apply.

“Sevens is my dream because its such an open game, the running demands are so much higher and in a way I can have more of an impact on that, as there’s higher physical capacities to be fulfilled. Although, initially I thought it wasn’t the right time because I’d only just started my MSc, I thought I’d have nothing to lose if I was to be offered the role.

Through a lot of the interview process I drew upon Loughborough experiences as that’s what I had applied most of my knowledge to and it provided me with practical experiences to discuss. Hands down without Loughborough I would not have got my dream job.

I was lucky enough to be offered the job and they wanted me to start straight away. I’ve now worked with the university to split my second semester to make it work and can’t wait to get started!”