Sport newsletter: Issue 1

October 2017

Welcome to the first edition of UCB’s Sports newsletter

Our aim for this issue and beyond is to tell you about what Sports courses at UCB involve, what our students have been up to and where in the world (and the career ladder) our Alumni are now. This issue, we’re giving special focus to our Sport and Fitness Studies and Sports Therapy degrees – but there are plenty of other courses also on offer:

  • Sports Management
  • Sports Massage and Remedial Therapy 
  • Strength, Conditioning and Sports Nutrition  

Take every opportunity you can:


Student Xavier Mathias shares his secrets to becoming a successful Personal Trainer

Now in the second year of his Sport and Fitness Studies degree, Xavier Mathias has seized every opportunity that has come his way at UCB – as well as seeking out a few of his own – and landed a few very enviable jobs as a result.

By taking up the support offered by the University Xavier has not only secured a placement as a Strength and Conditioning Assistant at Aston Villa Ladies Football club, he is also a Personal Trainer at MSC Performance, a specialised strength and conditioning facility in Birmingham. Hired@UCB, the University’s careers, employability and placements service, helped Xavier refine his CV and put him in touch with industry connections providing the kind of work he was interested in. It’s a resource he wishes more undergraduates took advantage of:

“Whatever career guidance you need, hired@UCB can help,” says Xavier, who has been a student at UCB from the age of 16. “Lots of students aren’t aware of how much they could benefit from getting in touch, even if it’s just to have a chat with an employability tutor about their CV.” 

Xavier also enlisted the Enterprise Hive, UCB’s service helping current students start their own small-to-medium-sized-enterprises (SMEs), to help him launch a Personal Training business attached to his work at MSC Performance.

He currently spends much of his time researching ways to cater to his rapidly expanding client base, and is thinking of branching out into online training via video tutorials.

“One piece of advice I’d offer to any Sport and Fitness Studies student thinking of going into freelance personal training would be to focus on your own personal brand,” said Xavier.

“Doing a Sport and Fitness Studies degree sets you apart from other Personal Trainers because of the level of specialised knowledge you can offer to clients, so make sure you take full advantage of that selling point.

“I never expected to be able to have my own clients so early on, but having Personal Training and Gym Instructor qualifications through UCB has meant not only have I secured a good range of clients I can even charge a higher price for sessions. In the meantime, my role as a Gym Instructor provides a steady income and enough flexibility to slot between my studies, work placements and my business. 

“As much as I enjoy working with Aston Villa Ladies’ and at MSC Performance, my next move is to make sure I focus on my degree. Ultimately the more I take in from my modules, the more clients I’ll impress in the future. So it’s time to put my head down!”

 Sports Therapy student hails intensive massage course as ‘invaluable’    


BSc Sports Therapy student Callum Davidson has loaded praise on the Level 4 ITEC Sports Massage course offered by UCB to students doing the degree, deeming it an ‘invaluable experience’ for anyone wishing to enter the industry. 

Heavily subsidised by the University, the ITEC qualification is designed to provide an intensive overview of sports massage and treatment, specialising in soft tissue therapy. Students leave with new skills, more in-depth knowledge of their degree, and with an accreditation highly valued by employers.

“After taking this course I feel more able and confident than ever before,” said Callum, who completed the ITEC Sports Massage qualification this summer. “It has opened doors for me to develop my own business as well as increasing the number of offers I have from sports teams needing a therapist. 

“With fifteen students in each class, there were plenty of opportunities to practice my skills across the week – there were even university lecturers on the course, which proves how valuable it is for students at any level.

“The fact UCB offer the qualification for just £300, when externally it would cost over three times that amount, is fantastic. If you have dreams of working for a top sports team or becoming a soft tissue therapist, this Level 4 course is essential – as well as being very good value.”

Top sports scientists on the bill for UCB sports conferences


Students will get the rare chance to learn from some of the UK’s most prominent sports scholars at a conference taking place this Autumn at UCB.

The first Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Student Conference is open to all those on UCB Sports degree courses. Attendees are set to hear from experienced industry professionals and get up to speed on the latest practices in the field.

Renowned sport and exercise Professor Craig Twist, who works with the Rugby Football League and England Touch Association, will speak at the conference.

Other respected names on the bill are Lucy Hammond, Principal Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick, and Dr Leigh Breen, Associate Professor in Musculoskeletal Physiology and Metabolism at the University of Birmingham.

Joseph Matthews, event organiser and UCB Sports Therapy lecturer, said the conference was designed to give students a comprehensive and valuable insight into the issues surrounding sports performance and rehabilitation.

“We are privileged to have some of the country’s most prominent sports scientists and therapists coming along to share their knowledge and experience,” he said. “This is the first conference of its kind at UCB, and something we hope will become a key feature in the University’s annual calendar of inspirational events that link nationally and internationally-leading research to applied practice.”

Curriculum leader Mark Godwin and senior lecturer Andrew Frampton, who is also head of the medical department at Aston Villa Ladies Football Club, will take centre stage as keynote speakers.

With events like this fast becoming a regular fixture on UCB’s Sports calendar, not to worry if you’re missing out this year. Future students can just keep their eyes peeled for next September.

Sports Therapy students called up to assist on 969 mile cycle sponsored by Deloitte 


22 Sports Therapy students were put to the test this term when they were enlisted to help over 850 keen cyclists travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just eight days.

The Deloitte Ride Across Britain (RAB) event bought a mixture of amateur and professional cyclists together to tackle gruelling routes of over 100 miles each a day. With UCB called in as an official partner, 22 students volunteered to travel the length of Britain to offer post event management, therapy and injury treatment to weary participants both before and after their daily 100-mile-or more journeys.

While UCB Sports Therapists are used to being in high demand at similar events such as triathlons, Ironman competitions and marathons up and down the country, there’s no doubt the Deloitte RAB pushed our experienced students to their very limits. Braving the worst of autumn English weather, they began daily treatment at 6am each morning and worked well into the night to ensure everyone was taken care of. However, their commitment did not go unnoticed, with students receiving such overwhelming feedback for their hardwork, staff struggled to make note of it all.

“Though challenging, the experience has been a unique opportunity for our students,” said Gareth Bate, UCB SportsTherapy lecturer and a supervisoron the Deloitte RAB. “Participants varied between CEOs of major companies to elite athletes like former Olympic champion Nathan Robertson, and their feedback has been positive across the board. For those wanting to make their mark in the industry, events like this are crucial.

“The days have been long and the weather has been tough, but we’ve loved every second. What’s most importantis that students will come home safe in the knowledge they kept over 850 people, from professionals to novices,on their bikes for almost 1000 miles,and what’s more, had a fantastic time in the process."