Buckinghamshire New University has been running a BA (Hons) Sports Management and Rugby Studies degree for a number of years and we have successfully seen countless graduates of the programme secure positions within the sporting industry. We are extremely proud of our graduates’ achievements within the rugby world, with many of them successfully employed as community coaches within Premiership Rugby and the RFU, whilst others have enjoyed success in sports administration within rugby, such as Ben Smiley (London Wasps), Ben Lee (London Irish) and Nick Todd (Community Rugby Coach for the RFU in Oxford).
Students at the Rugby Expo
So what is the secret of their success? The foundation of this lies in the continued partnerships that Bucks has with Wasps’ Community Foundation through Community Rugby Manager Dave Larham and his team and the RFU Regional Development Officer for Buckinghamshire, Tim Holmes.
These partnerships give students an opportunity to learn from highly-qualified coaches and to gain employment experience working on match days, coaching at local schools and volunteering at other events. The BA (Hons) Sports Management and Rugby Studies degree provides students with a broad range of skills and knowledge around the core disciplines of management, coaching and sports science. The course equips individuals with the right mix of inside rugby knowledge, sport business management and practical opportunities to develop students’ understanding of academic theory frameworks. The course also benefits from inviting in a number of high profile guest speakers, who become 'friends''’ of Bucks New University, including Olympic swimming gold medallist Adrian Moorhouse (Lane4), London Welsh CEO Tony Copsey, Wasps full-back Hugo Southwell, former England and Lions coach, Dick Best, and many others.
Additionally, students have been involved with various rugby events, working on match days at Twickenham, helping out in the making of the Rugby World Cup 2015 handover video, and working at the Rugby Expo 2012 event. All of these events provide students with a complete experience at Bucks, which provides great career prospects within the sport of rugby.
We asked one of our first-year students, Sam Verralls, to give an insight into his first year at Bucks New University on the BA (Hons) Sports Management and Rugby Studies course.
"Rugby has always been my passion in life, and that passion has been enhanced twofold whilst undertaking the Rugby Studies course at Bucks. Barely half a year in and my knowledge surrounding sports marketing, sociology and, above all, coaching, has expanded dramatically. Alongside work with London Wasps and opportunities that no other University has to offer, this course has been the making of myself and fellow students.
The Community Partnership Bucks has with London Wasps has been particularly influential during the course. Not only has working with London Wasps developed our knowledge of Rugby Union, our coaching ability, and self-perception, but the club has also offered us unique voluntary and paid opportunities. The work varies from Tag coaching, to refereeing and even work as Sting, which is an interesting and superb experience, to say the least! Grasping all opportunities with both hands has helped me already begin to ascend the job ladder and ultimately, get my name out there. The London Wasps partnership with the University has meant that we also get the chance to watch Premiership, Amlin and LV= Cup action regularly. Being involved with a Premiership Rugby club like London Wasps is developing my knowledge about rugby, but more importantly I am becoming multi-skilled and, I hope, highly employable. It's certainly a win-win situation.
Being both academic and vocational, I've found the course to be the perfect balance. I have had the option to develop my coaching through practice, in parallel to learning about how to be most effective, and it has all been invigorating and eye-opening.
Personally, what's been the most exciting is the outside opportunities and networking that you can potentially carry out. I've already networked with the likes of Phil Vickery at Rugby Expo 2012, spoken to Rugby speedsters Tom Varndell and Ollie Lindsay-Hague, and mingled with sporting greats like Rob Andrew, Bill Beaumont and even Jenson Button! I've had the most astonishing five months and have enjoyed the course immensely!"
Please contact Hugh.Mannerings@bucks.ac.uk for more information about the BA (Hons) Sports Management and Rugby Studies course, or come along to an Open Day. More details are at www.bucks.ac.uk/opendays. Contact the University on 0800 0565 660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for course enquiries or to apply for a place, or follow us on Twitter @BucksSportDept.
*Please note that the BA (Hons) Sports Management and Rugby studies course will have its final intake in September 2013. The course will then undergo a revalidation to become the BA (Hons) Sports Business Management degree, which will become available in September 2014