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National Careers Week: Profile of a Sports Development Officer

03 March 2021

Name: Amy Buchanan Job Title: Sports Development Officer Employer: The Sheffield College Which college did you attend and what did you study? High Storrs Sixth Form Sheffield and I studied Sports Science, English Literature and Biology What qualifications and experience do you need for your role? I have a degree in Physical Activity, Health and Exercise Science and I also have a Level 2 gym instructor qualification along with kettlebell, boxercise, dodgeball and scuba diving instructor qualifications. I also have safeguarding and first aid qualifications. I would recommend having a level 2 sports coaching qualification as this is often asked for by prospective employers. Tell us a bit about your career to this point I have always enjoyed sports and played a lot growing up. I went to university to study the area further. Throughout my degree I covered the biomechanics of sports and movement, how physical activity impacts health and wellbeing, barriers that prevent people participating in sport and ways to overcome them. Then I worked on a government initiative at an FE college working with students to increase their aspirations about going onto higher education. I was able to bring sporting projects into my work, as I knew the transferable skills sport develops, such as confidence, resilience, teamwork and communication. Whilst working at this college, I applied for the role of Health and Activity Lead as part of Sport England’s Tackling Inactivity In Colleges project. This was awesome as it meant that I could be working in sports everyday! This role involved trying to remove barriers and get inactive staff and students moving. I developed bespoke programmes tailored around students’ needs and allowed them ownership over the direction of their activities. Last month, I secured the role of Sports Development Officer at The Sheffield College. I am really excited to develop and embed a culture of physical activity into all areas of college life; from curriculum, to enrichment sessions, festivals and competitions. What will you be doing in your role? My role will consist of creating and running physical activity programmes across several campus sites with the help of a great team. We will deliver sessions within curriculum timetables as well as running turn-up-and-play enrichment sessions in a variety of sports. The sessions will be fun and inclusive to try and develop a culture of health and wellbeing within the college. Hopefully we will be able to develop and enter teams into AoC Sport leagues, along with friendly inter-college and local matches. I am looking forward to getting involved with local projects such as the FA Women’s EUROs 2022 as Sheffield will be a host city and it will be a great opportunity to inspire women to participate in football. There are a lot of other exciting projects in the pipeline that I can’t wait to get stuck into. What do you enjoy most about your job? I love the variety of my role as there is always the opportunity to find and develop projects in different areas of college life. Everyday brings new and exciting challenges, and I love seeing the positive impact that being involved in physical activity brings to participants. What is the best advice you have/have been given? In order to discover new oceans, you must first have the courage to leave the shore. This applies to all areas of life - you can’t discover new and exciting things if you don’t make that first step. That could be turning up to join a gym or new sports team, applying for that dream job or heading off travelling. There’s a whole world out there, you just need to have the courage to take that first step. What are the biggest challenges in your role, or facing the industry generally? COVID aside, I would say insecurities are a huge barrier. People can be worried about how they would be perceived participating in sport, or that they won’t be good enough. The truth is no one cares! Everyone was a beginner once, it doesn’t matter your skill levels, just by turning up you’re halfway there. For more information on AoC Sport's work on employment and curriculum click here.