The national landscape is changing: we, as a nation, are becoming fatter. And despite the best efforts of bodies such as the National Obesity Forum, there is no evidence that this ‘cataclysmic corpulence’ is waning. In fact, the latest predictions suggest that over half of the adult population will be classified as obese by the year 2050. This extra body fat brings with it a host of prolific killers, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer; this, in turn, presents budgetary constraints that are already crippling our National Health Service. Hence there is, and will be, an urgent need for people who have grown up in a culture replete with opportunities for sitting down and consuming ‘empty calories’, and – more importantly – who have a sophisticated cross-disciplinary understanding of what it will take to change this culture.
This is where having a good Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences degree could make the world of difference. We designed our new programmes with employability at the forefront of our minds. Features include independent study and assessment blocks, which promote an interdisciplinary approach– a proven cornerstone of effective learning, which will render our students a more tempting prospect to employers; increased contact time with Personal Tutors in the first and second years of study, so that skills and knowledge gaps can be effectively bridged; an award-winning Placement and Careers Centre, which will support you not only during your time at Brunel, but also after you graduate; and a reduced-fee optional placement year (see below).
In 2014, recruiters confirmed that a record 37% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations – either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work – and therefore are not open to other students. This is why students on our programmes are currently undertaking sport, exercise and health-related placements with the following employers:
Christ's Hospital, Sussex County Cricket Club, SportImpact, Fitlab, Northampton FC, AccessSport, British Canoeing, Watford FC, West Ham FC, and PromoSeven Sports Marketing in Dubai – to name a handful. There are also placements being undertaken in other sectors, including finance (e.g., JPMorgan Chase), retail (Canon Europe) and technology (IBM). The roles performed include Teaching Assistant, Learning Support Assistant, Duty Manager, Sport Development Officer, Club Development Manager, Research Assistant, Strength & Conditioning Intern, Performance Analyst, Data Management Intern, and Market Intelligence Officer. This impressive list reflects not only the diverse array of opportunities that are available to our students, but also the diverse array of talent and versatility that our students possess. However, if a work placement isn’t for you, then work-based learning has been woven into all of our programmes – which means that you will still have that crucial work experience on your CV when you leave.
Do you want to make a difference? Do you want a job where you can make a difference? Then our undergraduate and postgraduate Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences programmes could be the right choice for you. As passionate as we are about elite sport and the pursuit of excellence, both on and off the sports field, we recognise that talented and versatile graduates who understand the sociological, physiological, biomechanical and psychological factors contributing to our ‘national malaise’ will be highly valued members of the workforce for many decades to come. We also realise that Higher Education has changed: students are now paying considerably more for their degrees than their predecessors – and so their expectations are understandably higher. We have not just met those expectations, but exceeded them: in this year’s National Student Survey, Brunel is the #1 for Student Satisfaction and for sport science courses in London.
Dr. Lee Romer is Head of the Division of Sport, Health and Exercise at Brunel University London.