Dayne Massey – BA (Hons) Physical Education – second year student.
We spoke to Dayne about his experience securing a work placement with Leicester Tigers for his third year work placement module.
Undertaking work placements while studying is a great way to add to your CV and show employers that you are ‘work ready’. They also give you experience working in your intended sector, helping you understand what it would really be like to work in a particular environment.
Want to find out more about finding work placements? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where are you from originally?
Born in Derby, but resided in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.
What made you choose the University of Cumbria?
It was the closest university to my place of employment at the time, and I wanted to continue working in coaching etc… I was well established in my area as a coach, and so I didn’t want to lose that. Also, I was sure that I wanted to pursue sport as a career, but unsure of which kind of route. The PE course offered flexibility, and the tutors were really friendly and honest about the course and what I could pursue on it. It’s very flexible, and a characteristic of the University of Cumbria is the relatively small course cohort sizes; it has definitely worked in our cohort’s favour.
What is your placement job title going to be?
Physical Performance Intern. Although this translates to the more well-known Strength & Conditioning Coach/intern.
How long is your placement?
It starts from the 26 of June 2017 (provided Tigers win the Aviva Premiership!), until when Tigers win the Premiership again in around late May 2018!
What will you be doing on your placement?
It’s predominantly structured around working the senior squad and S&C coaches, and progressively develops as the internship goes on. By the end of the internship, it is the club’s aim to delegate the responsibility of a single, or group of elite athletes’ physical conditioning and preparation. Although I assume this will be based on performance throughout the internship. Also, as part of my agreed contract, I will also work off-site with prospective academy players in their physical performance within the Tigers’ catchment area. I will also look to gain work with the wider, club development side of things, and hopefully secure some game coaching experience.
How did you secure your placement? Was it advertised or did you approach the employer yourself? How did you go about this?
Basically, I wanted to apply for 10 placement agencies, ranging from S&C to sport development, and I had 10 in mind, but unfortunately (or fortunately), I couldn’t find any contact information for one my chosen agencies, so I decided out of pure interest to send my final CV & covering letter to Leicester Tigers. About a week later the head of physical performance & innovation at Tigers emailed me back, inviting me to apply for the physical performance internship. The applications for the role actually closed on the 1st of December last year, and the candidate who secured the role initially had to withdraw. So about another week later, I was invited down for an interview day with the S&C team, and to meet the players, current interns, and coaching staff – a huge shock to the system initially.
Did you have to attend an interview? What was it like? How did you prepare?
It was an interview day I had to attend. It involved shadowing the forwards and backs gym sessions, pitching in the team training sessions, having breakfast and dinner with the players and staff, and a 30-40 minute interview. I didn’t feel much pressure, although I was very nervous, and even though they provided an itinerary for the day, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had to deliver a 20-minute coaching session to two of the staff on the front squat, which I was quite nervous about, but I just treated it as though I was coaching anybody, and I think it went quite well. Overall, it was quite surreal as I got to meet my favourite players, including England and Lions players like Manu Tuilagi, Ben & Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, as well as veterans of the game like Marcos Ayerza, and Geordan Murphy. I guess I couldn’t really prepare for it, as it’s nothing like I’ve ever done before. I was pretty relaxed and I just wanted to demonstrate my enthusiasm and inquisitiveness for the role and club culture, and I suppose that was the best prep I could have done.
Is this a paid placement?*
Unfortunately, it isn’t paid, as is the case with most internships in this kind of industry. I’m not worried though, as I managed to negotiate a very good deal with the club and staff with regards to accommodation etc… There is however, opportunity for further paid work, if sought after. This involves working off-site to deliver field-based S&C to clubs and organisations affiliated with the Tigers. I’m going to try and look for some more in-house work. Preferably I’d like to work in some form of coaching, although I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to have to accept anything I can get!
What are your career goals? How do you think your placement will help you achieve these?
I simply want to achieve the highest possible status I can, in whatever that may be, although preferably in a form of S&C, or coaching/instructing/teaching. I’m confident that I will grow personally and professionally, and the skills I have developed through my degree so far will definitely facilitate this. Throughout this placement, we are required to reflect on our experiences for the assessed element, and this in-turn will allow me to further develop my strengths and weaknesses with regards to both personal and professional practice. The length of the placement will also allow me develop these aspects of performance, rather than just construct a framework of how I will go on to develop them later, as may be the case with a relatively short placement. When speaking to the other interns, they expressed that the greatest benefit of the position was the contacts. Popular and successful researchers come in frequently for CPD purposes, the club has international contacts with other clubs, and including who the players know personally. It’s just a very big gateway into the industry, as it is all about who you know, not necessarily what you know, to be successful.
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to do a work placement while at University?
Absolutely – the higher you aim, in theory the higher you should ‘finish’. That’s what I go by and I like to think I’ve done okay. I’ve not even started the placement yet, and the further opportunities of working with a club like the Tigers has already provided me with accommodation, invaluable advice, and perhaps most importantly, contacts. Placement is where the student has the opportunity to demonstrate that they are employable, and that they can apply what they have learned, everyone will always say the same. But why not go for something big? My placement came around out of sheer luck, and in a way – bad luck. You’re not going to lose anything, and never know where it might take you in terms of employment after University. Finally, be the most enthusiastic person you know, and throw yourself head-first into any opportunity presented, enthusiasm is what has motivated me to achieve what I have so far in my life, not necessarily my knowledge.
*We always recommend applying to paid work placements where possible. If you are considering undertaking an unpaid placement while studying we suggest considering your finances before accepting an offer (if you require support with this contact email@example.com). After graduation we recommend avoiding unpaid internships. Find out more about employment rights and pay for interns here. Find out more about Employment Status here.
Want to find out more about finding work placements or how to access other careers support? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.