From Saints Sport to a Career in Sport
Leah Allcock (MA 2019) loved sport at St Andrews so much that she has made it her career. Here she explains her journey from Saints Sport to working for British Para-Swimming and Rugby League World Cup
Coming to St Andrews
Coming to the University of St Andrews was an easy decision. When I came here on a visit – cliché as it may be – I immediately fell in love with the quaint little town and all it had to offer! I was given a tour of the sports centre and picked up on the amazing sense of community that exists here, and immediately knew that St Andrews was the place I wanted to be.
Sport at school
I had been involved with sport throughout school: I was a member of the netball team all the way from primary school through to sixth form and played for the school A-team. What I have always loved most about sport – and particularly about netball – is the team camaraderie. Every weekend we would arrive at school and board a mini-bus to a different local team, sometimes travelling several hours just to lose in the final minute – but it never got us down. The bus journey back was always full of laughter and chatter – no matter the outcome of the day.
Sport at St Andrews
When I joined the netball team in my first year at St Andrews, I couldn’t foresee the impact that it would have on my University experience, and on my life beyond University. A huge number of students are active within sports clubs and most of the people I met in Freshers’ week planned to join one club or another. The culture of sport here and the opportunities to get involved in sport – no matter what level you’re at – are amazing, as are the lifelong friendships that are made as a result.
During my five years here I had a number of roles within sport: I played for the 1st team for four years, was President of the Club in my final year, volunteered locally and abroad, was an officer on the Student Sport Team and eventually took a role as Athletic Union President for a year after I graduated.
As a member of the Netball Club I was also able to complete courses in Coaching and Umpiring, which I used to volunteer at Madras High School and in Zambia – a defining experience of my life so far.
My roles on committees and eventually as AU President taught me a huge number of transferrable skills including time management, leadership skills, commitment and adaptability, to name just a few.
These skills have been instrumental as I have transitioned from student to graduate – especially as I decided to work in sport. Since graduating I have worked as an Administrator at British Para-Swimming and will be joining the team at the Rugby League World Cup at the end of January to work as the Community Volunteer Lead.
I would not have been able to work in either of these roles without the experience and education that I gained as a student athlete and committee member. I hope to continue working in sport and have no doubt that my time at St Andrews will continue to stand me in good stead. I have found through all my years in sport that it’s full of good and passionate people and this has ensured that I feel extremely happy and fulfilled in my career.
Sport at St Andrews continues to innovate, break down barriers and provide the sort of welcoming community that the University is famous for. I know that Saints Sport and all it offers will continue to grow and thrive so that many more students can have the incredible experience that I did.