University of Brighton students graduate through new professional standard

Students graduating in 2021 from the University of Brighton’s Sport Business Management degree are graduating from a degree which is endorsed through the General Manager Professional Standard.

Despite the pandemic, students graduating in 2021 have shown remarkable resilience and a substantial work ethic which reflects the ethos of CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) members. The University of Brighton has been a partner with CIMSPA since the inception of the Higher Education partnership programme. Dr. Marc Keech has led on the work for Brighton. He said: “When presented with the professional standard of general manager, it was clear to see that our curriculum, with a couple of minor tweaks, already met the requirements for endorsement of the General Manager Professional Standard.

“In order to complete the initial application for endorsement, it was important for us as a university to show that we clearly address the professional standards, written by employers, but that we also add to them by developing reflective practice. The sport management degree at the University of Brighton was the first in the country to have a module dedicated to reflective practice and developing the self-awareness of aspiring managers.

“That curriculum, which has been in place since 2003, has seen many students go on to jobs in both sport management and other forms of management, and has also seen students acquire places on a number of different postgraduate courses.” Farran Leach, a member of the CIMSPA Youth Panel in 2020-21, has secured a fixed term role with Active Surrey as an Active Communities Officer. Farran said:

“The degree programme enabled us to gain the specific knowledge and skills required to be able to demonstrate that we understand the vast roles there are within the sports industry. I like that we are the first to be able to experience the endorsement and it’s positive to know that the organisation is there to support us.

“I strongly believe that completing my placement in second year has helped me develop invaluable skills that I have taken forward when applying for jobs. It gave me the chance the develop both personally and professionally in that work setting.”

Eleanor Skipp was appointed as Sport Competition Assistant Manager for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. There were over 1,500 applicants for Eleanor’s post, and she said: “The degree is a clear reflection of the professional standard with all elements covered within the three years but what was also equally important was the awareness the course developed about interpersonal and soft skills, which served me well during the application process for my job.

“When combined together, the professional standards and the importance of self-awareness as a sport manager help to provide another level of ‘evidence’ as to the skills I have obtained, and topics covered over the three years of the degree. I believe that the degree and CIMSPA endorsement gave me an advantage over other applicants. I will be engaging and communicating with and building relationships with Sport International Federations, NGBs (National Governing Bodies) and other key partners: which is particularly reflected within the degree.”

Reflecting upon the achievement of the cohort, Keech said:

“Endorsing the degree against the professional standard has helped students prepare themselves for applications to employment and further study. Whilst we only made minor changes to the curriculum to meet the professional standard, it has provided impetus to ensure the curriculum stays up-to-date and relevant [to the current sector employment market]. Importantly though, the professional standard is not so constricting as to take away some of the detailed content and critical analysis and reflection that is so important to higher-level sports management in the UK.”