Ulster University sports industry fair: event report

CIMSPA Northern Ireland had a high-profile presence at Ulster University’s sport industry employability fair in mid-November, as the university and its collaborative partner colleges look to help their students make a successful transition from higher education into working life.

CEO Tara Dillon gave a keynote presentation and some nimble diary work meant that three members of the CIMSPA Northern Ireland national management board – Paul Lyness, Katrina Morgan and Alison Bennington – were able to take time out of their schedules to attend. Together with regional officer Jordana Buckley, the CIMSPA team discussed the board’s ambitions for 2016, and staffed our exhibition stand – a great opportunity meet many future sport and activity professionals.

The afternoon centered around the employability fair, with over 130 students enjoying the chance to network with employers such as GLL and Belfast City Council, to find out more about coaching organisations and sport governance, and to be introduced to sector-wide bodies like CIMSPA and Sport NI.

Faculty members were also able to discuss with Tara and the NI board how we would improve the journey from education into employment – both by engaging students with their chartered institute and how CIMSPA can link up sport and activity employers, not only AFTER their courses, but also through placement opportunities. The HE sector in Northern Ireland is keen to develop new degrees with employability at their core, and CIMSPA is looking forward to being a part of this.

But, most importantly, the day gave Tara the opportunity to make a connection with a sizeable student audience from both the University’s School of Sport and their partner colleges in her keynote presentation. This gave her the chance to explain how they will be entering the sector at a unique point – with the sector’s first defined career pathway now coming into reality, as well as to listen to their perspectives on what personal development support young professionals coming into sport and activity need.

Speaking about the day, regional officer Jordana Buckley commented: “Ulster University put on a hugely valuable event today, and I’m so pleased that CIMSPA were so strongly represented and played a part in its success.

“Listening to the students has confirmed that CIMSPA is on the right track – they’re looking for high-quality work placements, and our focus has to be on employer liaison – our forthcoming employer partnership product will play a key role in facilitating this.”

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