Home Sport Why playing sports at university might make you more employable

Why playing sports at university might make you more employable

Photo: exeter.ac.uk
Photo: exeter.ac.uk

It is easy to spot a member of a sports team on campus. They proudly wear their sports kit, emblazoned with their team and flanked by others in the same colours. If, when on campus, you feel like you are one of few who do not own the unofficial uniform of the university, then you really are missing a trick.

Whether you can actually play sport or not, belonging to a team has the potential to completely change your time at university and after. For first years, it is a chance to make friends outside of your halls (who would say no to more friends in those first few weeks of term?). Second years may find their new housemates in their teams, and for third years, playing and training can provide that much needed break from the dreaded dissertation. Playing sport at any level, from intramural to BUCS premier league, provides opportunity for socialising, and relieving the stress that university work can inevitably cause.

There is a growing body of research suggesting that alongside physical health, playing sport helps to nourish positive social development in the form of the five C’s:  Competence, Confidence, Connections, Character and Caring. All of these are shown to have a positive impact on academic achievement, self -esteem and psychological health – which translates as, playing sports might help alleviate the almost inevitable third year finals breakdown!

Can playing sport even make you more employable? The discipline of training, learning teamwork, following the leadership of coaches and captains, and learning to lose provide lifelong skills that are of great use in any job.  A survey of individuals at the level of executive vice president in 75 Fortune 500 companies showed that 95% of them played sport. Similarly, BUCS have recently researched the impact of sport on graduate employability, revealing that 94% of employers questioned identified a clear link between university sport participation and valuable skills and strengths in potential employees.

I spoke to Sabina Usher, marketing manager at graduate recruitment company Instant Impact, who finds paid internships and graduate jobs for students and graduates, about what can make students more employable. She highlighted that:

‘It isn’t immediately obvious why possessing great sporting talent will help you when you are stuck behind a desk in a 9-5. But, playing sports at university demonstrates your interests outside of your degree, skills in time-management and self-motivation, clear ambition to succeed as well as giving you transferable business skills – managing others, delegating tasks, budgeting, project planning etc.’ All of these things point to a well-rounded individual that could work well in a business setting.

Whilst playing sport by no means guarantees higher incomes, promotions, and better jobs, the leadership skills and development of teamwork, hard work, and determination help prepare students to be leaders at work and in the community later in life. These qualities would not go amiss on any CV.

Charlotte Dorney


With thanks to Giverny Masso

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