They’re on the ball: RGU students gain valuable workplace experience

Being able to stand out from the crowd is becoming more important for students when it comes to applying for jobs and by gaining relevant work experience it is possible to start your career on the right track.

Sports and Exercise Science work placementsThree third year students from Robert Gordon University’s Applied Sports and Exercise Science BSc (Hons) course recently completed their six-week placements where among other experiences, they put their skills to the test designing football coaching and exercise routines as well as assisting with academic research.

Robert Gordon University (RGU) is renowned for its excellent work placement opportunities which can lead to glowing references, offers of employment and long and successful careers.

Student Cameron Campbell, 21, worked with Aberdeen-based Sport Technology Services (STS) where he used the very latest TactX football training ground software from UEFA to create 3D coaching animations for clients including: the Scottish and Norwegian Football Associations and the Red Bull Salzburg football team in Austria.

He said: “Working at STS was a fantastic experience and many of the drills I created have been made available online as part of coaching education projects across Europe. The software I worked with will revolutionise the work of every football coach from the professional game to grassroots level.”

Towards the end of Cameron’s placement he was asked to stay on as an intern and work as part of the STS team, one day per week, which has allowed him to continue to develop within the professional football sector. 

He added: “Being asked to stay on as an intern has been a huge boost and means I can continue to develop my skills and experience in this area. During my placement I improved my coaching knowledge and ability by researching drills, philosophies and coach education processes which will stand me in good stead for the years ahead.”

Fellow student Rebekah Dressel, 21, spent her placement with Aberdeen City Council as a Wellbeing Coordinator, working across the city to promote health and fitness to residents in sheltered housing and care home settings.

“I did a lot of work with chair based exercises and Technogym exercise classes for older people,” she said. “The sessions were delivered to a mixture of disabled, able bodied and less able clients which allowed me to adapt the exercises and make them inclusive for all abilities.”

Throughout Rebekah’s placement her personal project was to teach basic basketball skills to her clients which proved very successful. She said: “I branded the sessions ‘Basketball made easy’ and really got everyone interested in playing the game. The sessions were all very well received and at the end of my placement I invited all the care homes involved together for a tournament which was a huge success. It was great to see everyone having so much fun.”

Classmate Hannah Clews, 21, completed her work placement at RGU’s Faculty of Health and Social Care as a research assistant. She said: “My placement at the University helped me learn some new skills and also gave me the confidence to progress into my honours year here at RGU. A large part of my work involved recruiting and testing 50 participants for research into the reliability of low-cost body composition monitors in measuring hydration levels. This gave me a lot of experience with practical testing, data handling as well as different research methods.

“For the final two weeks of placement I also helped with the Technogym exercise classes for local residents at RGU’s Faculty of Health and Social Care which are supported by the Change Fund under the Active Aging agenda. I really enjoyed the sessions and have continued my involvement with them by leading some of the classes.”

The BSc (Hons) Applied Sport and Exercise Science degree at RGU is unique in Scotland as it offers students two placement opportunities during their studies and has been recognised as offering best graduate career prospects in the country in the Complete University Guide 2014.

The arranged placement in second year allows students to gain experience in applying their knowledge of health improvement, physical activity promotion and coaching at schools across the city, in partnership with Aberdeen Active Schools. In third year, students arrange their own placement in which they apply all aspects of their knowledge in a work context. 

Bryan McCann, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science and Placement Co-ordinator, said: “This year’s third year placements have been hugely successful and we have received excellent feedback from the students and the placement providers. Students undertake their placements with a range of organisations, including some involved in the oil and gas sector, the NHS, Glasgow Warriors, Scottish Rugby Union, Youth Sport Trust, sportscotland, as well as international opportunities such as sport development in the United States and coaching rugby in New Zealand.

“Placement providers recognise the positive contribution RGU students can make by applying their skills and knowledge of sport and exercise science and are now starting to advertise placement opportunities to secure the most promising students to work on exciting projects, which is great recognition of the quality of our students and the difference they can make.”


Release by
Ross Anderson
Communications Officer | Health and Sport

Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: (01224) 262389