Moray House School of Education and Sport

Jess (2016) - Competitions Coordinator, Scottish Student Sport

'The knowledge of how physical activity can benefit the body in multiple ways provides me with motivation in my job daily, as I know that my efforts to provide a sporting outlet will benefit others.'

Jess Barrows
Jess Barrows

What path has your career taken since graduation?

I joined the Scottish Sports Association as their Administrator in 2016, starting work prior to my graduation from Edinburgh! This role enabled me to integrate within the sporting governing body network. As part of my role I worked with Snowsport Scotland on their event organisation. In January 2017, I joined Scottish Student Sport (SSS) as their Sports Administrator. This job was highlighted to me by a SSS employee I was on good terms with due to networking. This role included organising sports events and general administration regarding the sporting programme. In October 2017 I was offered a promotion into the role of the Competitions Coordinator at SSS which provided me with more autonomy over the competitions programme and its development. At the time of writing this (January 2020) I am waiting for an interview for the role of Head of Competitions at SSS.

What is your current role and what does your work involve?

At the time of writing this, I am the Competitions Coordinator at Scottish Student Sport (SSS). My role includes the following:

  • Overseeing delivery of the student sport programme of 100+ events across 35 sports
  • Coordination and delivery of high profile events, such as the Scottish Student Football Finals Day, featuring the 100-year-old Queen’s Park Shield competition and Women’s Cup
  • Delivering three national, multi-sport events which involve over 1000 student competitors combined
  • Monitoring budgets for all events in the student sport competition programme
  • Training, supporting and mentoring key volunteers for event delivery
  • Developing the sporting programme in collaboration with members, key facilities and stakeholders

I find it rewarding being able to positively influence the lives of students around the country on a daily basis. Through my work I provide an outlet for socialising, fun, personal development and health improvement and these are all vital to maintain a healthy life balance as a student.

What experiences do you feel helped you get to your current position?

Volunteering:

  • Athletics Club – Social member
  • READ International (book charity) – Committee Member
  • Meadows Marathon – Committee Member
  • Class Representative for 4 years
  • Ambassador for Moray House

Work: I was an Athletics Coach for Edinburgh Leisure and City of Edinburgh Council’s Active Schools programme on a self-employed basis

Event management opportunities within my volunteering roles, coupled with my hands-on experience of dealing with the public in my job, enabled me to have firm situation-based examples to use in job applications and interviews. I would greatly recommend getting involved in clubs or societies to gain these experiences whilst studying.

How have you used the skills and/or knowledge developed during your degree in your career?

The knowledge of how physical activity can benefit the body in multiple ways provides me with motivation in my job daily, as I know that my efforts to provide a sporting outlet will benefit others. The Applied Sports Science module in particular benefitted my overall understanding of the sporting landscape as it identified the many people who make up a support team for athletes/teams.

What do you think was the most valuable aspect of your time at Edinburgh in preparation for your career?

The extra-curricular opportunities offered by Edinburgh, and the skills I learned from them, were by far the stand-out aspects of my CV. All graduates struggle to demonstrate that they are different from all other people who took the same degree and to prove that they have experience in their field, so the most valuable aspect of my university career was definitely what I did in my spare time.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in your area of work?

I would recommend getting involved with student clubs of any kind. There are always colleges or local clubs looking for assistance, so even if there isn’t an outlet for you at your university club, just look a bit further afield and you will find something. When you’ve found a club to support, do whatever you can while you are there! Coach, officiate, volunteer at their events, put out a few social media posts for them…the opportunities are endless if you are keen enough.

Once you start doing something keep your eyes open for new opportunities and talk to as many people as you can. If something comes your way which sounds interesting then go for it – you’ll be amazed at what you can learn and do! Don’t forget to write down your experiences so you know what to put on your CV at a later date, too.