Producing employable graduates in sport: maximising the benefits of volunteering

Bishop, Daniel, Swann, Christian, Willmott, Sandy , Lewis, Emma, Richardson, Bethany, Roy, Lucy and Osbourn, Stephanie (2014) Producing employable graduates in sport: maximising the benefits of volunteering. In: RAISE (Researching, Advancing & Inspiring Student Engagement) -National Conference - Student engagement: Opportunities for All, 10th - 11th September 2014, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Producing Employable Sports Graduates -RAISE Conference Presentation.pdf
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Concern has been expressed about the low proportion of sports graduates finding careers within the field (Minten, 2010). Recently-commissioned QAA research highlighted the importance of extracurricular activities in enhancing employability skills and recommended that institutions offer more course-specific information and opportunities (Kandiko & Mawer, 2013). However, Thompson et al. (2013) highlighted that extracurricular activities can negatively impact on academic performance and suggested that there is a need for students to be strategic in the activities undertaken. A new student-led initiative within the School of Sport & Exercise Science at the University of Lincoln called IMPress ( has been developed to help students work towards an institutional award and to encourage sport-related volunteering by students.

To address the concerns of the current employability research within sport and to facilitate the development of IMPress, an internally funded research project was developed to investigate the experiences of student volunteers and the organisations they work with. The research aims to identify good practice, possible barriers to student involvement and potential risks to other components of employability (such as academic performance). Specifically the research project will generate recommendations and a best-practice guide in the form of a Volunteering Toolkit to be used by current and future cohorts, both inside and outside the curriculum.

The research uses a mixed methods approach, with students and staff working together to implement all stages of the project. Perspectives from the School’s undergraduates and recent graduates are being sought, as well as organisations hosting student placements/volunteers. Initially quantitative data are being gathered through an online questionnaire, to which all undergraduate students in the School and graduates from the previous two years will be invited to respond. Further qualitative data are being gathered through focus groups with each of the following: present students and recent graduates who have volunteered; current students who do not volunteer; and hosts/mentors of volunteers and employers from the sports industry.

Specifically the paper will outline the research findings in respect of the extent and nature of volunteering within the School and the preparation for graduate-level careers in sport. The findings will be of value to the wider higher education community offering insight into how students can engage in volunteer opportunities within their own studies to enhance subject specific employability prospects.

Keywords:Student Employability, Voluntering, Sport
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:15012
Deposited On:19 Sep 2014 20:20

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