What does a sports placement involve?

Studying a sports degree at BCU means you will participate in a placement module. This gives you the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in your specialist area and learn from industry experts in a professional sports setting.

We caught up with Sport and Exercise Science students Niall Felton, Natasha Charlwood, and Adam Williams, to see how they are getting on and to get their valuable advice.

Niall Felton – Solihull Moors Football Club

Please tell us what placement you are on, who it is with and how long it is

I am on a performance nutrition and sport science season long placement at Solihull Moors Football Club for the 21/22 football season.

What does your placement involve?

My placement involves nutritional support for the team through meal plans for training days, individual meal plans for players, supporting with any nutritional questions and advice needed, and ensuring supplements being used are approved to avoid any doping issues. I also support the sport science lead with day-to-day sport science tasks such as GPS monitoring, urine testing, performance testing for recovery and readiness to compete. 

What have you learnt so far from being on your placement?

I've learnt a lot on how a sport science department and a football club implement their own strategies towards strength conditioning, nutrition, and how football clubs operate within the professional game. 

Has being on placement helped you with your current studies and if so, how?

It has massively helped me with bringing the theory-based knowledge and applied knowledge from my undergraduate degree and implementing those whilst working as a practitioner.

What are your aspirations for the future, and do you feel like your placement is helping you get a better idea of what career path you would like to take?

I would like to complete a Master's degree next year, whilst hopefully working as a practitioner within the field and ideally within elite football. Further down the line in my career I would be interested in lecturing university students.

How important do you think it is for students to participate in a placement?

I think it's extremely important. It gives you an insight into the field you want to work in and gives you the invaluable experiences needed. It also boosts your CV, showing employers you have the experience of doing the job as well as the relevant qualifications.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to do a sports placement?

My advice would be to take whatever opportunities come your way. BCU have a wide range of partnerships that give you different experiences in high quality placement institutes. Also, don't be afraid to go out there and ask about creating your own opportunities through networking, LinkedIn is a great tool for this, if you don't ask you don't get, and the only guarantee is that you won't get the placement opportunity you want because you didn't ask the question.

Be open minded and willing to learn with your end goal always in mind if the placement opportunity isn't working establish why it isn't and make the opportunities work for you and your development.


Natasha Charlwood – Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club

Please tell us what placement you are on, who it is with and how long it is

I am on placement with Worcester Warriors Rugby Club as their sports science and nutrition intern, working with their first team and academy teams. I started it in July 2021 during pre-season, and I finish at end of the rugby season in June 2022. 

What does your placement involve?

I started by shadowing both the lead sports scientist and performance nutritionist in their roles. It has led quite nicely to having more responsibility throughout the programme, where I have led the nutrition programme for the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) students, delivered education workshops, cooking sessions, and worked 1-1 with various athletes. I have also worked very closely with the academy and have been able to carry out my dissertation within the club environment which has been a valuable experience. 

What have you learnt from being on your placement?

I have learned some real work practice, whether that has been good or has been at times more challenging. It has made me a better practitioner because I have been able to apply what I've learned throughout my degree into practice.

Has being on placement helped you with your current studies and if so, how?

Definitely. As mentioned, I was able to carry out my dissertation in the environment, and I was also able to use a player for my case study as part of one of my modules. It is also just vital learning experience that has really helped my degree and future. 

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Do you have any highlights of being on your placement and if so what?

I think for me a highlight is just being in the environment, sitting in on the team meetings, and having that interaction with the players. Sometimes I step back and think, I am so lucky to have this experience within an elite sporting environment whilst being an undergraduate student. To have the support of the team has been amazing.

What are your aspirations for the future, and do you feel like your placement has helped you get a better idea of what career path you would like to take?

I aspire to be a performance nutritionist working in sports and this placement really solidified that career pathway. Going into the role, I took a sports science internship but was able to direct the path I wanted to take within the club and that has been really beneficial to me. I would say that although it initially wasn't the role I was looking for, it has really worked out in my favour.

How important do you think it is for students to participate in a placement?

I think it is very important for people to take part in placements. It not only gives you valuable career skills, but it also gives you connections in the industry and valuable life skills. If you think about the hundreds of people who graduate each year, you have to think about what is going to give you the best start to your career, whether that is in sports or not. I think placements play a massive part in employability. 

What advice would you give to somebody looking to do a sports placement?

Embrace the environment and take in as much as possible! Ask questions and be willing to learn, you never know where it could lead. When you're in the placement be committed, that's when you get the most of it in my opinion.


Adam Williams – Warwickshire County Cricket Club

Please tell us what placement you are on, who it is with and how long it is

I am undertaking a strength and conditioning placement with Warwickshire County Cricket Club. It is taking place through the entire winter season through to spring. 

What does your placement involve?

My placement involves coaching strength and conditioning to some of the age group teams within the club, following plans set out by the head and assistant coaches.

What have you learnt from being on your placement?

I have learnt how to apply what I have learnt from my course, especially from the ‘strength and conditioning’ module, particularly regarding how to deliver sessions and the different ways of coaching. It has also helped me to improve my communication skills when working with players and coaches, particularly with younger players.

Has being on placement helped you with your current studies, and if so, how?

The meetings I have had with the strength and conditioning coaches at the club to improve my professional development have definitely helped with my studies, by showing me the newest practices and how to apply these to coaching athletes.

What are your aspirations for the future, and do you feel like your placement has helped you get a better idea of what career path you would like to take?

I would like to go on and be a strength and conditioning coach for elite sports people in the future. Not only has this placement helped me gain experience in the field, but speaking to the coaches at the club led me to start looking for Master’s degrees to push me further forward in the field.

How important do you think it is for students to participate in a placement?

I think it is important to participate in placements as not only do they help you to apply what you've learnt on your course, but they also give you valuable experience that will make you look more appealing to employers.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to do a sports placement?

Don't worry about what sport you are working in, focus more on the experience and knowledge you will be able to get out of it and the people working there.

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