Producing Employable Sports Graduates (PEGS)

Concern has been expressed about the low proportion of sports graduates finding careers within the field (Minten, 2010).  Recently-commissioned QAA research highlighted the importance of extracurricular activities in enhancing employability skills and recommended that institutions offer more course-specific information and opportunities (Kandiko & Mawer, 2013). However, Thompson et al. (2013) highlighted that extracurricular activities can negatively impact on academic performance and suggested that there is a need for students to be strategic in the activities undertaken. IMPress ( is a new student-led initiative within the School of Sport & Exercise Science that embodies the Student-as-Producer philosophy and complements the Lincoln Award in encouraging sport-related volunteering by students.

This project will investigate the experiences of student volunteers and the organisations they work with, in order to identify good practice, possible barriers to student involvement and potential risks to other components of employability (such as academic performance). It will generate recommendations and a best-practice guide in the form of a Volunteering Toolkit to be used by current and future cohorts, both inside and outside the curriculum.


Latest Project News

September 2014: RAISE Conference

Five members of the research team – Emma Lewis, Beth Richardson, Lucy Roy, Dan Bishop and Christian Swann – presented the project and its preliminary findings at the RAISE 2014 conference in Manchester (whose theme was Student Engagement: Opportunities For All). All five contributed to an oral presentation entitled  Producing employable graduates in sport: maximising the benefits from volunteering and Beth and Lucy also presented a poster, whose title was IMPress: Reflections on a student-led employability network.

PEGS Presentation – RAISE 2014                         IMPress Poster – RAISE 2014

Both presentations were very well received and the student researchers were particularly lauded for their contributions, which were exceptional for second-year students presenting for the first time at a national conference. We are very proud of them, and Steph Osborn (who is also involved with the project, but was unable to attend the conference).

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June 2014: Focus Groups & Festival of Teaching and Learning

1. The survey has been completed with a fantastic total of 122 submissions (80 current students and 40 graduates). Thank you to everyone who provided feedback; the material provided has been really helpful.

2. The student researchers have run the first two focus groups: one with current students and one with local employers and volunteer mentors. A second set of focus groups will be organised in October.

3. Sandy Willmott gave a presentation about the project to colleagues at the University’s Festival of Teaching and Learning. A lively discussion ensued in which initiatives from different Schools were shared by attendees.