Sport and exercise graduate lands dream job through practicum

Thursday 2 June 2022

Alumna Jamie Middleton discovered an unexpected career path that aligns with her passion for sports through Massey’s sports programme.

Jamie Middleton.

Last updated: Friday 25 November 2022

Jamie enrolled in the Bachelor of Sport Exercise, majoring in Sport Development following an injury that left her unable to work as a snowboard instructor for a year.

Jamie says she was keen to study by distance so she could stay in her hometown.

“I looked specifically for online courses because I wanted to stay in Wanaka and decided to study sport development by distance through Massey. The biggest challenge for me as a student studying online was that I wasn’t surrounded by people on the same boat. No one in Wanaka really studies so people don’t understand what you are up to, and you don’t really have anyone to talk about the courses with.

“Another challenge was staying motivated to keep on top of my study. When you don’t go to lectures in person, it can be quite easy to let it slip away and become secondary to other priorities.”

She says the lecturers made a huge difference in helping her stay on track.

“All of them were great, especially those who checked in and kept me engaged as much as possible which really helped. I think Massey lecturers are doing a great job trying to keep students who study online engaged even though it is a difficult task.”

Through the practicum with Snow Sports NZ, Jamie was able to work in an industry that matches her interest.

“After graduation, I was offered a part-time job with Snow Sports NZ as a Performance Analyst to help throughout the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. I was very fortunate and grateful for this experience; it’s a rare opportunity being involved in the Olympics.

“My responsibilities included tracking competition performances of our athletes and others in the world circuit. We then collected the data, spotted any trends or tricks being done and predicted any trajectory in the sport in terms of what rotations will be included in the next Olympics. We also offered support to coaches and support staff live when the competitions were on, sending through videos and live scoring as they came in. The placement has led to future opportunities within the organisation. It’s been quite incredible.”

The first semester of practicum was about professional development and presenting yourself professionally. The degree prepares you well for life after study.

“The degree has opened my eyes to the sport industry, how it all works and prepared me professionally,” she adds.

Jamie’s advice for students is going after opportunities even if they are not exactly your dream career choice.

“If you can prove yourself then doors will be opened. Keep your options open. I didn’t even know performance analysis could be a job. I ended up loving it.”

The Bachelor of Sport and Exercise (Sport Development) is available at the Manawatū campus or through distance.