Sports and student volunteering: The Loughborough Volunteer Academy
Posted on 26 Feb 2016
Here's a guest blog from the folks from the Coach & Volunteer Academy at Loughborough University all about a perfect match: sports and volunteering.
Volunteers within sport are one of the most vital parts of the making sport happen. The thousands of voluntary sports clubs, organisations and community groups would simply not function without the support of volunteers, whom have a love and passion for their game. At Loughborough University this is no exception, with multiple programmes across various different sports happening on campus, which would not happen without volunteers, and a whole lot of sport happens in Loughborough. Students of come together for the love of sport, help to run clubs, programmes and general physical activity from grassroots through to elite athletes, to allow for sport to happen – all voluntarily and worth it!
The importance of volunteering alongside your studies
The Volunteer Academy at Loughborough work with these student volunteers in a range of strands, from media, performance analysis and administration to name a few. There are also so many personal benefits from volunteering whilst at university, to help develop communication, skill knowledge and leadership while gaining experience within specific industries. While others it is used as a way to network and a route into a possible future career within organisations or industries.
One great example of the value of volunteering comes from a performance analyst at Loughborough Students Rugby Club. He spent around 10 hours per week, filming, coding and analysing the Rugby clubs matches in 2015 during his studies (If it’s your passion, you find that time!). The time and effort he put into this volunteering helped him develop his ability and skills in this area and within the Rugby environment, that he was offered a paid role within the Rugby Club during his final year of his degree. This did not stop here; he was also offered to be the Head of Performance Analysis for the England Students Rugby Union team, and therefore working with National Governing Bodies. This all came from his volunteering commitments in 2015, and all this for the love of the sport and love of the club, more than the paid element that he benefits from the experience – What an idol!!!
Wanting more than just a degree for the cost of tuition fees
It has been well documented that tuition fees are increasing, and the competition for every job in extremely high, and therefore it is becoming more valuable to gain volunteering experience during these years. This is why the Volunteer Academy was created to allow for students to invest in their futures as well as academic studies. Volunteering while studying at university creates the best of both worlds, qualifications and experience, to help you to explore experience and evolve.
Due to the competition of graduates each year, it is those graduates with volunteering experience that are highly sought after by employers. Their proactive approach, increased knowledge and attributes that they have developed while on placements is what makes it them more attractive. This could be any student if they want it. It has been proven that there is an association with a premium salary of between £4264 and £5616 per annum to those with a volunteering background. While money is a factor with some, it is usually those who do it for the love of the game and sense of pride and belonging and helping to ‘make it happen’ that benefit from volunteering in more than just monetary terms.
Everyone at the Volunteer Academy at Loughborough cannot recommend voluntary activity enough. It helps personal development, learning new skills, increases confidence, social skills and networking for your future. Volunteers benefit from all the above, as well as an increased feeling of purposefulness, enjoyment and happiness. So why not take a bit of time to invest in your future, find an opening to volunteer within your sport, at your club or university and make YOU be the best you can be!
Categories: Institution spotlight