Work Placement with Links SSP
Prior to beginning placement, I was both impatient to begin, yet alarmingly anxious. However, any concerns quickly diminished thanks to incredibly accommodating staff, welcoming schools and the wealth of opportunities that a placement at Links School Sports Partnership had presented me. Upon completing my university degree in Sport Development with Coaching at Sheffield Hallam University, it is my intention to enrol onto a master’s degree in Sport Journalism. Therefore, my time at Links was to be used constructively to ensure that the transition into the world of journalism is as seamless as possible. Knowing this, Links had kindly offered me a placement to fulfil duties such as blogging and photography for their website to help increase the (already positive) reputation of the company. It was my role to work alongside the placement coaches and construct pieces about each event to then be uploaded to the School Sports Partnership’s website.
However, I was surprised to discover just how much coaching and interaction with participants I would have; and just how much it could enhance my personal development as a journalist as well as a coach. There were often times where the planned sessions required assistance from more staff to ensure the activity is as rewarding for the participants as intended. Because of this, it became a regular occurrence to motivate, instruct and coach the students at primary schools around Sheffield, as chaotic as it may have been at times! By aiding the coaches on occasion, I was able to better articulate myself under pressure and therefore enhance my ability to communicate more efficiently; a vital component of what makes an effective sport journalist in the 21st century.
Furthermore, there were numerous opportunities across the 6-week academic placement to learn directly from professionals in the sport industry. Specifically, during the Yorkshire Sport Foundation’s School Games event at the English Institute of Sport, I was given the opportunity to learn from the media team for the event and thus improve my prospects to enter the world of sport journalism myself. During the event, it was my role to gather information about each competing team that was necessary for the photographer to decipher the wealth of photos that were taken during the event’s 6-hour runtime. This, alongside many others, was an opportunity that provided me not only with knowledge, but experience that could prove to be invaluable in my future progression.
While I was confident that placement would provide opportunities and knowledge that is transferrable to my academic studies, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Despite working alongside Links in the past and knowing just how friendly, warm and hospitable the staff are, the idea of a work placement in the frightful ‘real world’ had me apprehensive to begin. However, after the first few days, I came to not only learn a lot about the world of school sport from my time at Links, but also to enjoy the challenge and variety that every new day had to offer.