This is the 2nd part of a blog series sharing my journey through WBL (Read Part 1). Having progressed through academic programmes at both UG and PG level, undoubtedly my journey will draw similarities with others who have chosen to pursue a career in performance analysis.
Which WBL experience is the best?
As a reflective practitioner, all my WBL experiences to date have contributed to my future practice and professional development. I have always placed gaining practical experience at the top of my to do list, especially with more employers now favouring experience over academic qualifications when assessing employability. I am not disregarding academic study, and I acknowledge a large proportion of my experience was undertaken alongside my study, where I developed sound theoretical underpinnings. Without entering a debate into ‘theory to practice or practice to theory’, I am purely highlighting that with practical experience playing such an important part in my development as a practitioner, how much consideration do we all put into selecting our WBL opportunities?
When selecting any opportunity, you the individual must place yourself at the centre of the decision, and assess if the opportunity will provide you with new/additional experiences that will enhance your skill set. Excluding some of my earliest experiences, I have put a great deal of thought into selecting the opportunities I have undertaken, taking into consideration:
1) The learning environment it provided for me
2) The potential for a positive and progressive relationship with coaches
3) The level of support offered through mentorship and CPD opportunities
I am fully aware that this can be difficult to assess at the outset, with some aspects being unknown entities without prior knowledge, however, some certainly are controllable and agreeable upfront with your selected WBL provider. Various opportunities are available for consideration, many will be accompanied with detailed job descriptions (some paid, many unpaid), rarely will these opportunities offer any detail on what a WBL provider will offer in return. Whereas in the Industry and Business professions it is noticeable that many companies have established programmes that outline expectations of both the student/recent graduate alongside that of the company as WBL provider.
Ultimately, as an individual you make your own decisions, therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to pose questions of the environment you are about to enter. One thing I am a big believer of is immersing yourself into an experience to get the most from it. An opportunity viewed by two different pairs of eyes could well be received and assessed from differing viewpoints, where it may fit for one person, it will often be unsuitable for another.
My intention was to provide further insights into my experiences through WBL, it would be great to hear from other practitioners about their experiences. Check back on VPA for more blog posts on WBL.
Performance Analysis Officer
Cardiff Metropolitan University (UWIC)