There are so many ways young people can be involved in sport. We asked Fern, 23, Participation Officer at Lacrosse Scotland, to tell us about how she got to where she is now.
Hi Fern, can you tell us a bit about how sport shaped you in the early days?
For me, sport has never been just about participating; it is about volunteering, coaching, officiating, socialising - basically, I’ve always felt that sport can be anything you want it to be! I've always been so passionate about hockey and I loved playing at school, but in my final year I took up the opportunity of a sports leadership course, which really opened my eyes to the other benefits of sport. I went on to study sport at college and then at university, and I kept looking for ways to get out there and get more experience.
So where did you find opportunities to gain more valuable experience?
My friend was involved in the Haddington Community Sport Hub and she mentioned that she'd seen an advert for the Young people's sport panel. I contacted the hub officer Bengy to discuss it and it sounded great as I love volunteering and sharing my views. I was delighted to get an interview and even make it to the second round, but unfortunately didn't get further. This experience of interviews and of receiving feedback was really useful. I got back in touch with the hub officer and I started volunteering at the hub. I volunteered my time and also created and managed some of the North Berwick Community sports hub social media. I then began attending committee meetings, which was really out of my comfort zone. I was far more used to holding a whistle and a hockey stick! I was nervous introducing myself and speaking out but it was a relaxed environment were people listened and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. It gave me confidence to apply for an internship at sportscotland working in the sports development team, which I got!
So what's happened since then?
I'm now the Chair of the hub committee and a member of the strategic regional group for North Berwick Community Sport Hub and surrounding area. I'm learning so much at this new level, building understanding of the sport development landscape, the value of connections to schools, community groups and businesses. It's so exciting to be creating new opportunities for everybody in the community. This is still a voluntary role, as I'm now working full time at Lacrosse Scotland as Participation Officer. My key roles for the next few months are to focus on setting up coaching and officiating courses as well as building partnerships with schools and clubs. It's amazing to have made a career for myself doing something I love so much!
What advice would you give other young people who would like to work in sport?
There are so many fantastic opportunities in sport, take chances by putting yourself out there, you will be surprised by the outcomes! Get involved in as many projects as you can, take opportunities and run with it!
Fern's key milestones:
- Passionate hockey player with a love for sport. Took part in a 6th year leadership course alongside PE, modern studies and psychology.
- College studies towards HNC and HND in sport coaching with development of sport then University to gain Honours degree in Sports and Exercise Science.
- Lots of coaching and volunteering experience while studying, made connections and networked in the sporting world.
- Made contact with the local community sport hub officer to seek opportunities.
- Applied for the Young people’s sport panel. Unsuccessful but keen to find other, similar opportunities.
- Volunteered at the hub and joined the committee.
- Successfully applied for an internship at sportscotland working in sport development.
- Hub committee chairwoman and representing the hub at regional level.
- Gained full time role as participation officer for lacrosse Scotland.
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