Sunderland College and rugby club tackle work experience

Performance analyst intern Andy Turnbull, left, and chairman of Houghton Rugby Club John Simpson.
Performance analyst intern Andy Turnbull, left, and chairman of Houghton Rugby Club John Simpson.
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A new way to start a sports career is being pitched after a college and club teamed up.

While Rugby World Cup fever is sweeping the UK, plans are being made by students as they plan a long-term project to get involved in the game.

This ensures students are given first-hand experience of working in their chosen field, while the club also benefits from receiving additional skill sets.

Club chairman John Simpson

Sunderland College is tackling work experience head on thanks to a partnership with Houghton Rugby Club, to help develop skills and knowledge.

Keen rugby player and coach Andy Turnbull, who is studying a foundation degree in exercise, health and fitness, is completing a one-year internship with the club, which plays in Durham Northumberland Division 2.

The 26-year-old from Ashbrooke, who has been playing rugby for the past eight years, has been appointed as the club’s first performance analyst through the scheme.

Andy decided to return to education to pursue his ambition of launching a career in the sports industry, after working in the civil service for three years.

He said: “I was made redundant from my role as a tax credit advisor a couple of years ago and, after doing some agency work, I decided the time was right to study a sports degree.

“Performance analysis is something I’ve always been interested in, as it can massively influence how a team improves their performance.”

The partnership has also seen level 3 diploma in sports massage students carry out regular treatment sessions with players.

Club chairman John Simpson, said: “The club is a firm believer in supporting students by offering internships and work experience opportunities.

“This ensures students are given first-hand experience of working in their chosen field, while the club also benefits from receiving additional skill sets.

“Having built up our relationship with the college over the past year, the partnership is working very well and we are planning to expand this by offering Sunderland College students further work experience opportunities at the club.”