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Olivia Taylor HE 2

Former Level 3 and Higher Education sports student secures teaching position at NSCG

With a passion for sport from day one at Stafford College, Olivia Taylor chose to study a Higher Education course after excelling on her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport & Exercise Science. Olivia chats to us about her experiences of college life and how it's influenced her career choices.

Q. Looking back, how was college for you?

A. I absolutely loved college! Firstly, the Sports lecturing team at Stafford showed me a passion for sport like no other education provider ever had done which instilled a passion in myself to strive and do the very best I could during my time at Stafford College from 2017 to 2019 and left college having achieved D*D*D*.

Q. What made you decide to stay on at Stafford College to study a university level course close to home? How was it for you?

A. I decided to study at NSCG Stafford College for my HE degree as I absolutely loved my lecturers, they instilled a drive in me like nothing else ever has, whether that be in or out of education. Due to their incredible support during my time at college I never even questioned my decision to study HE at NSCG and was a more than natural progression for me. Obviously, during the process of deciding to study at NSCG I figured out that the cost would be less in comparison to a more ‘traditional’ HE institute and the facilities were closer to my home – but for me it was really all about the lecturers and the trust I had in them to work in a comfortable and most importantly enjoyable environment in what is a very stressful time for any university student.

Thanks to this support and incredible experience I undoubtedly applied for the FdSc in Sport Coaching & Physical Education and after completing the two years of HE at the college I topped up my degree at Staffordshire University where owing to the knowledge and foundations of confidence in my ability established by the staff at NSCG allowed me to achieve the highest overall academic achievement award and a first class honours degree in Physical Education & Youth Sport Coaching.

Olivia Taylor HE

Q. How has studying at NSCG changed your life so far?

A. I really cannot fully emphasise to you the impact that going to college has had not just on me as a person but on my life choices and career path, but I can try! Firstly, I have had the pleasure of being taught by a variety of lecturers over the years and I have tried to take a ‘golden nugget’ of information from each of them, whether that be from their teaching pedagogy, attitude towards their job or even little life lessons. Most of the changes have come from the likes of Tim Grahl, Jack Bullock, Eleanor Carr and Kelly Farrelly-Daly who during my time constantly supported me and guided me, mainly in viewing points from other perspectives, which I would say has helped me the most when leaving college as it has made me place myself in other shoes and not just that they all made me feel comfortable in my own skin and therefore I am always myself which has helped me massively from a social aspect as I find it very easy to communicate.

Q. After leaving NSCG, what did you study and where?

A. I chose to complete two years of my BSc Honours degree in Physical Education & Youth Sport Coaching with NSCG which during this period I discovered my passion for Further Education and the environment therein. Hence, during my top up year at Staffordshire University I completed my dissertation, which was based purely around discovering college-based Higher Education lecturer experience and perspectives of the less widely know profession. Thanks to the built up passion I have for the institution I achieved a 86% in my dissertation and finished my degree with a First Class and Highest Overall Academic Achievement Award across the Sport and Exercise cohort.

Q. How did studying at NSCG help you with your 'top-up' course?

A. In all honesty without the NSCG HE course being there in the first place I would not have even considered going to university, let alone have discovered a passion for the setting. Without the foundations that were firmly put in place by the Sports lecturing team I would never have been able to independently achieve the grades I did within my top-up year at Staffordshire University. This is predominantly due to the support that is not just offered, but almost a given by the lecturers who are willing to whatever they can to help you – which for me – made me want to work harder not just for myself but for their efforts. Another main assisting factor for me was the environment itself, I felt comfortable going into a classroom where I could raise my hand and ask questions or even debate topics where I know I would get a response, rather than a big lecture hall full of students from a variety of courses.

Q. What has been your biggest challenge and the biggest reward so far?

A. So far for me the biggest reward has been HAPPINESS, I have found a profession that I love and a drive to do what my lecturers did for other students. I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced what I have at NSCG which has developed me to achieve what I have in an academic sense. The biggest challenge was definitely the step-up from college-based HE to a more ‘traditional’ HE setting, but this was mainly due to the fact that I missed the college environment and the lecturers that I had at that point built a 4 year professional rapport with.

Q. Are you planning on continuing your studies or heading into employment?

A. I am about to commence my first year lecturing at NSCG in the Sports Department teaching a mixture of Sport and Public Services units – I had been doing work experience with the Sports Department at Stafford for 2 years prior to this. However, during my work experience at NSCG I additionally worked at a special education needs primary school in Cannock called Sherbrook Primary School which further set a desire in me to work to my best for students. In the future, I plan on studying a PGCE at Staffordshire University, whilst I continue to work at NSCG to gain more knowledge and research further into the world of Further Education.

Q. We'd love to hear all about your future career goals?

A. Once I've studied and completed my PGCE and started to work at NSCG as a Sports Lecturer, I hope to gain my Master’s Degree in Education. It would be amazing to carry on researching the FE and CBHE sectors to publish journal articles.

Q. Finally, what would you say to other people in your position, who are considering taking studying a university-level course at NSCG?

A. DO IT! In all honesty I wish I could turn back time and do it again! I think if you love college and appreciate the lecturers within it you can achieve anything you want to with their impeccable teaching methods and most importantly the undivided attention that they give to you as an individual student is something that a ‘traditional’ university cannot offer to the level that the team at NSCG provide.

For more information about studying a University level course at NSCG, click here.