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Sports events provide opportunities to boost students’ knowledge and experience

University of Gloucestershire students enhanced their real-world knowledge and experience after playing key roles at two sporting events at the Oxstalls Campus Sports Centre for participants at opposite ends of the age spectrum.

Students enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree programme provided therapy support during the Over-70s England Walking Football regional tournament, while PGCE Secondary Education Physical Education students performed officiating duties at the Gloucester Primary Schools Spring Netball Festival.

The Over-70s England Walking Football regional tournament was an opportunity for students within the University’s School of Sport and Exercise to apply the knowledge and learning they have gained on the degree programme in a competitive sports environment.

Sarah Shaw, Course Leader for BSc Sports Therapy and Senior Lecturer in BSc and MSc Sports Therapy, said: “This is the second time that our BSc Sports Therapy students have supported the England Walking Football event at the Sports Arena.

“Guided by Sports Therapy lecturer Kirsten Wing, a 10-strong team of students helped with preparations and soft tissue massage, as well as pitchside first aid support and post-event treatments.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work with a different population group and sport, to what they may typically gain on placement.

“The staff and students enjoy the engagement with the players and staff and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”

The manager of the England Walking Football Team, Stuart Langworthy, said: “We were thrilled to be able to use the superb facilities at the Sports Arena for the second time.

“What made it special was that many of the students were on hand all morning and afternoon offering massages and therapy support and during the games.

“It all helps to provide a more professional experience for all the players and it gives the students invaluable hands-on experience.”

Four PGCE Secondary Education Physical Education students – Lauren Wyatt, Cameron Pirie, Tianna George and Mike Addis – oversaw the action at the Spring Netball Festival.

The event aims to boost the confidence of primary school children, by providing them with an opportunity to represent their school, in a socially and physically beneficial activity.

Dr Liz Durden-Myers, Lecturer in Physical Education who organised the placement, said: “Physical education teachers have a tremendous role to play in shaping childhood engagement in physical activity and subsequent levels later on in life.

“Part of this role includes providing a range of positive and meaningful enrichment experiences that encourage all children to develop a love of sport and physical activity.

“By attending and volunteering their expertise at this event, I hope our trainees see this as a very positive example of how the power of sport and physical activity can enrich lives.”

Brendon Bratcher, Facility and Fitness Supervisor at the University, said he was proud of the professionalism and commitment shown by the students who participated at both events.

“They were all determined to perform their various tasks to the highest levels possible,” he said. “Both events were great opportunities for them to gain real-world knowledge and experience, which they seized with both hands.”

Matthew Tansley, Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing, said: “Unisport plays a key role in developing partnerships with our SU, schools, community organisations and national governing bodies.

“It is especially pleasing to see our students playing a key role in the organisation and delivery of these types of sessions.

“It will enable them to develop their skills and experience, making them ultimately more employable once they graduate.”