I am originally from Carmarthen in West Wales, and moved to Cardiff in 2008 to begin studying a BSc in Biomedical Sciences (Health Exercise & Nutrition)* at the Llandaff campus of Cardiff Met.I knew that I really wanted to work in elite sport, and whilst at Uni, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship at Sport Wales. This meant that at the same time as completing my studies I was able to gain valuable practical experience working within Commonwealth and Olympic sports – whilst the course at Cardiff Met provided valuable learning opportunities and a great mixture of lab and practical based work.
Once I completed my undergraduate degree I decided that I wanted to continue studying at Cardiff Met and complete an MSc in Sport & Exercise Science. At the same time, I was working as part of a wider team towards preparing athletes to compete for Team Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Being able to play a small part in the success of Team Wales at this event is still one of my best moments of working in sport.
As well as working in Sport Wales I have also been able to work with several professional teams including Celtic Dragons Netball, Wasps Rugby, Premier League Football, and the Football Association of Wales. I have also been interviewed for Channel 5 News and Radio Wales to provide insight and comments on different aspects of sports nutrition, and I have even been back to lecture on the residential MSc Sport and Exercise Medicine Course at Cardiff Met.
At the moment, a ‘typical working day’ for me doesn’t really exist! As anyone working in sport will tell you, each day is different. I am lucky enough to work with such a wide variety of athletes, and I can spend one day building meal plans and liaising with hotel staff; and the next day at a competition venue in Canada or Kazakhstan!
I suppose one of the key aspects of my role is to translate scientific information in to easily understandable and applied practical advice for athletes, coaches and support staff. If you’re lucky enough to gain a role in a sport setting straight out of university I think it is tempting to try and make an impression by showing off how much you have learned, when really all any athlete wants is simple information that can be understood and followed every day and at each mealtime. My advice would to be keep things as simple as possible.
If you are thinking of applying to study Biomedical Sciences (Health, Exercise and Nutrition)* at Cardiff Met this September I would certainly encourage you to – Cardiff is a friendly city to socialise and study in, with plenty to see and do. Be prepared to put the work in, and try to gain as much practical experience as possible during your time studying. Employers are always looking for the “little extras” you can bring to the table, so I would also advise becoming a member of the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr) as this is becoming a minimum requirement for those hoping to work within the sports nutrition industry in the UK.
Stick at it, and good luck!
*This course was formerly named ‘Sports, Biomed & Nutrition’.