Source: Massey University
Massey University’s distance learning opportunities allow students to study from many locations globally. The opportunity to undertake Work Integrated Learning (WIL) sport industry projects internationally has provided great personal and professional learning opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate Massey University students.
Professor Andy Martin, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, supervises the sport practicum placement students and says students have recently undertaken WIL placements in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia.
“There are some challenges in setting up international placements, but clarifying ‘great’ expectations with supervisors, so that students have the opportunity to be proactive, take leadership responsibilities, and take work away from their supervisors is important in students making the most of such experiences, and ensuring it’s a win-win situation,” Professor Martin says.
One student based in Vietnam as a college volleyball coach indicated how much he appreciated the supervision and the self-development that had resulted from the placement.
“It’s an honour to be able to work with my colleagues and these athletes,” Boy Hei Hei says. “My supervisor’s amount of experience and expertise he has coaching, I feel privileged to be working alongside him. I am so impressed in how far I have come in my confidence and knowledge since the beginning of the season. I am really proud of myself.”
Aaron McLelland, an undergraduate student coaching rugby at a secondary school in Canada, says the practicum experience provided valuable mentoring and professional experiences in a school setting.
“Periodic self-analysis and coaching effectiveness review enabled me to experience a school environment from an educator’s perspective. I was mentored by a number of senior and experienced coaches.”
Cameron Lamont is employed as a club triathlon coach in Switzerland, and says the practicum process allowed him to develop as an international coach.
“It has given me a new perspective on the role of a coach and how to manage athletes and allow learning to become a world-class coach. The flexible structure of the practicum allowed the focus of self-reflection to be adapted to address current issues and allow for better personal development.”
Sio Ikenasio is based in Australia and has undertaken a sport development role in volleyball for a regional sport organisation, which has had a significant impact personally and professionally and highlighted the benefits of the WIL process.
“It has been such a rewarding experience where I have been able to put into practice some of the theoretical knowledge I have acquired through my studies,” he says. “I was also fortunate to have a supportive supervisor who provided a nice balance of guidance and encouragement that empowered me to learn through my experiences. My greatest achievement within this placement has been contributing to the creation of a new generation of young volleyballers within my community through establishing and coordinating the “SpikeZone” programme.”
Professor Martin says these international examples highlight the multi-disciplinary area of sport development, which plays an increasingly important role in the initiation, support and promotion of sport and physical activity at the volunteer, club, regional and national organisational levels, from grassroots to the elite level.
“Massey University’s new Sport Development majorwithin the revised Bachelor of Sport and Exercise will prepare students for work in the varied and growing area of sport development by providing knowledge in topics such as sport organisational structure and function, event and facility management and sport coaching, along with sociological, performance and business issues linked to sport,” Professor Martin says.