🚧 NSCG | Alumni Q&A with former sports student, Danielle Blakeman
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10th August 2020

We’re really proud of our alumni and everything they have gone onto achieve since leaving NSCG. We love to keep in touch and find out what they’re up to.

We recently chatted to Danielle Blakeman, who studied the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport, Fitness, Coaching and Development at Stafford College from 2015 – 2017.

Q: How did you find school when you were younger?

A: I went to Hagley Park Academy and I had an incredible time at school and my favourite subject was PE. I did well in school having achieved all my predicted grades, if not better and I got my 5 GCSE’s that I needed to get onto my course at college. I achieved 8 GCSEs and 1 BTEC.

Q: Why did you choose to study at Stafford College?

A: I chose Stafford College after attending an open day. I fell in love with the campus and I was really impressed with the course staff. They were fantastic and gave me lots of information about the course and it’s benefits for my future studies and career path. From this moment, my passion for sport was reignited. Previously, my course at high school had changed from a GCSE to a BTEC and I did disconnect from it, and so I was looking forward to starting college.

Q: What did you enjoy most about being at college?

A: I enjoyed a lot about college but I would have to say the lecturers at Stafford College really sold it for me as a student because they were so chilled out and really got to the point in lectures. I found them to be approachable and easy to contact, and I really benefited from the open door policy. I found the lecturers were extremely easy to get on with and they helped me achieve the grade I got when I finished my course - I cannot thank them enough! There was always a great atmosphere across the campus. And all of the support staff were friendly, polite, and very helpful throughout my studies. The facilities at the college are fantastic and there were great places available to do practical work for my course.

Q: What did you go onto to do after studying at college?

A: After college, I went to the University of Chester to study BA Sport Development and Coaching. Having just finished my degree I have thoroughly enjoyed my course and I am on track and I am looking forward to finding out my final grade. I would recommend studying at university if you have the opportunity to do so. Not only are you taking the next step in your education, but it helps to push you out of your comfort zone.

Q: How important is getting involved in extra curricular activities?

A: This was really important to me at college and while at university, I have taken up many different sports alongside my studies. I have continued to play netball which I was involved in at college. In my second year at university, I was made Vice Captain of both the netball and women’s rugby team and I even made Captain of the rugby team in my final year. Playing sports at university helped me find new friends other than the ones on my course, and this is something you can get involved in at college to get to know new people.

Q: What’s next for you, and what are your plans for the future?

A: In October, I will be starting my Masters Degree in Sport Management, which I am looking forward to starting as I love the aspect of sport management.

Whilst at university, I did a placement with a School Sport Partnership, where I am currently still working as an assistant school games lead. This this role involves going into schools to coach and run different leadership training events for college and high school students. It has been a very rewarding job and I hope to progress to a School Games Lead as it has all the aspects of sport development, management and a bit of coaching. I also gained my Level 1 Handball coaching qualification and progressing onto Level 2 coaching. I am also looking forward to completing my Rugby League Level 2 and Rugby Union Level 1 and 2 qualifications.

Q: Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?

A: I am currently working on different events which will be starting in September or later due to Covid-19 which have obviously had an impact on our events programme. One of the projects that I am involved in is a taster session event which allows children to have a go at different sports so that we can funnel them into clubs if they want to. The aim is to get more children active in sport.

Q: What is your most notable achievement?

A: My most notable achievement is seeing my work come to life. In May 2019, I was tasked with creating a futsal festival with different games in a circuit. After 5 weeks of planning I got to see it come to life in October 2019 once the new academic year began and the event was a success. That is my proudest moment so far, because it was something I had taken the lead on and was the beginning of my career in school sport.

Q: How did studying at Stafford College help you get into your chosen career?

A: Studying at Stafford College really helped me on my way into the world of sport. My advice for current students is to work hard and say yes to any opportunity you get given. It does not matter what it is, just say yes. I got the opportunity to go to Villa Park on a Youth Sport Trust event to be a Lead Activator in a Get Set Action Campaign. I was also lucky enough to go to the Sport Trust Talent Camp. Take any opportunity to show your skills or take any roles. I took over a role at the campus which was to run a badminton club, I then got given tickets for a Yonex Badminton competition. So if you take a role you could get rewarded but it also gives you experience in what you might want to do in the future. If you study sport, my advice would be to say yes to any course you are offered especially a Level 2 coaching qualification if you wish to work in schools and with young people. I was offered the opportunity to complete a Level 1 FA coaching qualification and that was the stepping stone in my coaching career. Another bit of advice is to get as much work experience as you can because the working field is very competitive, I have found the employers look more at what experience you have more than how high your grades are. You need to do this especially if you want to be a teacher because if you want to do a PGCE, they look to see if you have experience in schools as it is a very competitive field and there are only so many spots on courses and in schools.

Q: If you had to sum up your time at Stafford College in one sentence, what would it be and why?

A: Fun, exciting and welcoming environment with fantastic lecturers. I would say this because it pretty much sums up my college experience because I did have a fantastic time at college and they were very welcoming when I first started but the staff were always great for the 2 years I was there.

If you are inspired by Danielle’s journey through education, visit our website to find out more about our range of sport courses at Stafford College