Monday 29th March 2021

CASE STUDY | How Scottish Student Cycling kept students active, motivated and engaged during the cold, dark winter!

Spring has sprung – gone are the cold,dark winter nights. Replaced with longer, brighter and more hopeful days ahead.

The changing season is very much welcomed, with the easing of restrictions of the next couple of months proving a glistening light at the end of the tunnel. Whilst the winter months were a challenging time for all, there was plenty of golden nuggets of refreshing innovation within the student sporting world to look back on. This extract focuses on our Scottish Student Cycling community and how they spun a negative situation into a positive one.

With in-person, cycling events cancelled for the foreseeable future, the Scottish Student Cycling community led by SS Cycling Chair Aaron Johnson pulled together taking it in turns to host virtual rides, jumping from institution to institution to provide a virtual competitive offering and giving students the opportunity to keep active and motivated throughout the winter.

Scottish Student Cycling Chair, Aaron Johnson writes

Between November and March, 10 different university cycling clubs across Scotland, took on the responsibility of hosting weekly virtual cycling rides (meet-ups), with the support of SS Cycling. Meet-ups took place on the virtual cycling platform, ‘Zwift’. Each week, a different club would delegate a member who would be responsible for creating the meet-up, organising the route and sending invites to fellow students.

A total of 38 participants took part across the various meeting – engaging both current students and alumni members. The highest turnout saw 18 participants tackle one of the hilliest routes on Zwift and was hosted by RGU student, Jamie Chree.

Students were able to use these meet-ups as an opportunity to socialise and engage with clubs, something that has not been possible in-person this year, due to the Covid pandemic. A lot of students also used this an opportunity to fit in a workout, whilst still being able to ride with a group.

The overwhelming response from students and competitors was very postive. Speaking to SSS, Louise Smith (University of Stirling) said:

“I really enjoyed the whole experience! It was good to have a weekly session, knowing I was going to be on Zwift on a Tuesday evening. It was great to be able to chat with students from other universities too. It also helped to fill the hole, that the lack of group rides has left in my life.”

Aaron Blackwood (University of Aberdeen), enjoyed the social aspect of the meet-ups and believes the format has long term potential. He said:

“The SSS Zwift meet-ups gave me a great opportunity to get to know fellow cyclists from across Scotland, at a time where meeting up in person was not possible. The laid-back format with different universities hosting every week really helped to personalise the meet-ups rather than just having a single host picking the routes every time. Even after the pandemic is over I could still see the benefits of running similar events!”

Honourable mentions go to Aaron Blackwood (University of Aberdeen), for never missing a meet-up and even hosting one himself.

Well done to all the students and institutions who took part in meet-ups! Going forward the Scottish Student Cycling team are hoping to build on the momentum gained from the winter events and provide an even better event offering for the 2021/22 season and beyond!

 

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Monday 22nd March 2021

In collaboration with the Scottish Football Association, 22 young football and futsal players took their first steps onto the coaching ladder. Read our highlights here!

The Introduction to Coaching 1.1 Course kicked off in style last weekend, with 22 students taking their first steps to becoming qualified coaches. The course was delivered with our partners at the Scottish Football Association and was unique in the sense that it was the first-ever course tailored specifically for female students.

The course included 22 participants – representing 10 different universities across Scotland – from a mixture of student football and futsal clubs!

David Baird and Karen McConnell from the SFA led the session, with support from Niamh Russell. In addition, Debbie McCulloch (Head Coach at Spartans WFC) delivered a session focussing on leadership and confidence.

This additional session was an important part of the course prompted by the SSS Women in Sport group, which highlights the need for more opportunities available for females in sport in order to gain the extra confidence required to lead a team. The group acknowledged that along with the specific coaching skillset, the confidence to deliver is a crucial part of the jigsaw.

SSS was keen to take the opportunity to incorporate a ‘Changing Lives’ mindset into the training. The ‘Changing Lives’ mindset focuses on using sport and physical activity to intentionally bring about positive change for individuals and communities.

We caught up with some of the participants on the course to find out what they made of the course.

💬”I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Karen and David were excellent and their passion for the sport came through clearly. The entire day was really engaging and it was great to hear from Debbi McCulloch on her coaching journey!”

💬”I really enjoyed the community atmosphere amongst the group. The course was mainly discussion-based so interaction was key – it was great to hear everyone expressing their views and experiences so openly!”

💬”Growing up, I have mostly only had male football coaches, so I was greatly inspired by the enthusiasm and drive that many of the female students had to become the best coaches they could be.”

💬”The course was delivered in an extremely professional manner and was well planned throughout the entire day. As a young female player, I feel really inspired to begin taking active steps forward into the coaching world. I believe there is a huge future for young aspiring female coaches and I hope to be a part of that.”

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Monday 22nd March 2021

Netball Scotland are looking for a Membership and Business Intelligence Officer to join their team. As part of the role you will manage and lead multiple projects and accounts, as well as working closely with Netball Scotland’s partners.

Summary

  • Membership and Business Intelligence Officer
  • Permanent / Full Time Contract
  • £20,000 – £24,999
  • Working from home during Covid-19 restrictions

The Role

This role requires you to have a passion for sport, and most importantly for netball. The Membership and Business Intelligence Officer (MBIO) will have accountability and responsibility for delivering membership services and business intelligence support across the business to deliver Netball Scotland’s corporate strategy.

This role will allow you to put managerial and leadership skills to use,  leading numerous projects and accounts throughout Netball Scotland.

You will also be working closely with Netball Scotland’s partners, especially Strathclyde Sirens to activate critical engagement, outreach and event strategies. In addition to this, you will be the first point of contact for the organisation via email, social media and telephone, provide support for administration support when needed and other duties that are required by the business.

To apply

To apply follow the link below and it will take you to the application form. If you wish to apply please complete and send all appropriate paperwork to karen.dunn@netballscotland.com

by close of play on 28/03/2021.

📝 Click here to download the full job description and person specification here 

 

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Thursday 11th March 2021

Sporting Memories are looking for a Communications Assistant to join their team. As part of your role you will engage with some of the biggest accounts and personalities of the sporting and media world!

Summary

  • Communications Assistant (Social Media)
  • 6 months fixed-term with view to extending
  • 25 hours per week
  • £16,000 full-time equivalent
  • Working from home or your own office space, based in the Edinburgh area

This is a brand new role within the organisation and an opportunity to make your mark on the communications reach and engagement of a UK charity. Reporting to and working closely with our Communications Manager, in this role you will engage with some of the biggest accounts and personalities of the sporting and media world, and with those people and organisations who lie at the heart of our work.

We use the power of talking about and remembering sport to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness among older people. While social media is just one part of our overall strategy, it is an aspect we strive to use in the most effective way possible.

Using your love of social channels, communicating and relevant experience, you will help to shape, support and grow our reach at a time when this is needed more than ever.

The Role

It goes without saying that you will enjoy sport. In fact, it will be pretty much a passion. A love of talking all things sport.

You will enjoy following big personalities and organisations in sports and sports media. You will understand how to make meaningful connections and have the confidence to engage, with guidance, with some of the biggest social media accounts in the sporting world.

Crucial is an understanding of our core work: to engage with members of the public; with older people who may be living with dementia, loneliness or depression, their families and their carers; our volunteers current and potential; and with our stakeholder organisations.

Your focus will be on providing social media support and input, but there will be opportunities to provide communications support across a range of tasks, such as collating quotes and case studies, writing news articles, supporting campaigns and building contact and media lists.

We don’t expect you to have run huge social media accounts or campaigns, but you will be able to demonstrate and provide examples of a true interest in engaging and building a variety of audiences across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram – using a wide range of imaginative and effective targeted strategies. This could be through employment or your studies, own work or interests.

You will be able to work efficiently from home or your office space but really enjoy being part of a team and contributing to our task groups. We love getting together for a ‘virtual’ coffee and to talk about sport just as much as our Club members do!

📝Download the full job description and person specification here.

To Apply 

Please send the following via email to our Communications Manager Helen Johnston at helen@thesmf.co.uk by 5pm on Monday 22 March:

  • A covering letter that shows us why Sporting Memories and our mission means so much to you
  • Your CV to show us your relevant experience and interests
  • Descriptions of two social media campaigns or targets you have been involved with, demonstrating growth in engagement, an analysis of effectiveness, and strategic content for different channels and audiences

Successful applicants will be invited to an online interview that will take place on 25 March.

 

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Tuesday 9th March 2021

In celebration of #InternationalWomensDay, the latest BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar featured four inspirational women who shared their journeys through working within Scottish Sport. Read the highlights and rewatch the conversation here!

In line with our growing ambition to get more people participating in sport and as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, SSS were delighted be joined by four fantastic females who shared their experiences as women working within the sporting world.

Georgia Moran hosted the call that exemplified the wide range of different career paths in sport. We heard from Laura Montgomery of Glasgow City FC, Rachel Cremin from the University of Strathclyde and Netball Scotland, and Sophie Fusco Mckeown, official at Wimbledon in 2019 and University of Edinburgh graduate.

There were many similarities between the panels first experiences of sport, and some of the barriers they faced. This ranged from a lack of enough opportunities to participate, to the conscious and unconscious bias within sport and society. There was a particular emphasis on the importance of positive role models and for projecting the opportunities for women to participate. Though this shouldn’t focus solely on playing – we should highlight the variety of roles that women can get involved in throughout sport.

In keeping with the theme for International Women’s Day our panel shared experiences of when they have to decide to #ChooseToChallenge. These were a mixture of people and processes that have stood in the way of women progressing in sport. While it is important to recognise these challenges, it is equally important to look ahead.

In a post-Covid world, sport has the opportunity to engage and empower a whole new audience. We have seen habits change and more people become more accustomed to regular physical activity. Providing opportunities to participate, for every level of ability, is where student sport should focus the collective efforts to ensure a healthier and more confident future for women in sport.

Watch the webinar in full here ⬇️

 

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Thursday 25th February 2021

Following the evolving Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, follow this page for how this will affect Scottish Student Sports events and competitions in the coming weeks. This page will be regularly updated with the latest news as and when we get it.

Following the evolving Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, follow this page for how this will affect Scottish Student Sports events and competitions in the coming weeks. This page will be regularly updated with the latest news as and when we get it.

Updated: 15th March 2021 at 16:30

Coronavirus (15/03/21) – Update

Following the latest announcements from the Scottish Government, the SSS Competitions Committee have agreed the following:

  • All in-person events scheduled for the remainder of the 2020/21 season will be cancelled.
  • All National Squad activity will be cancelled for the remainder of the 2020/21 season, except for Cricket which remains in a tentative position due to it being a summer-based sport.
  • SSS will not plan to hold events in the spring or summer in place of the cancelled 2020/21 season, however, if SSS Sports Development Groups provide a strong case for a sport-specific activity then certain events may be considered on an ad-hoc basis.

The decisions above are supported by feedback received from members in our latest Competitions Survey and are reflected by the Scottish Governments road map out of the national lockdown.

Whilst 2020/21 has not been a year we had all hoped for, it has been encouraging to see such creativity and innovation from across the network, ensuring student communities have kept engaged and physically active throughout the pandemic.

At SSS, we have adapted wherever possible to provide some sort of competitive activity for students. Through the hard work of our outstanding volunteers, we’ve seen virtual competitive activity in the following sports; Athletics, Curing, Sailing, Karate and Triathlon, with Cross Country and Cycling events scheduled for later this month. Semester one activity included virtual Curling, Cycling, Rowing, Sailing and Triathlon competition plus the only in-person SSS event held this year – the SS Golf Autumn Trophy.

The SSS team is confident and committed to delivering a more active, more competitive and more complete sporting offering in 2021/22.

SSS will continue to work closely with our members, partners, Scottish governing bodies and sportscotland throughout the coming months and provide further guidance and information in due course.

For any COVID -19 related queries please contact Chris Purdie, Head of Competitions at chris@scottishstudentsport.com.

Additional Information

The SSS office remains closed and all our staff will be working from home for the foreseeable future. Therefore the main SSS Office phones will be out of use. Should you need to contact any of our staff please reach out via email – a list of contact details for all our staff can be found here.

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Thursday 18th February 2021

Have you been running more lately? Fancy using your new skills to benefit others? We have the perfect opportunity for you! Scottish Student Sport are delighted to announce a new collaboration with Jog Scotland and Scottish Athletics. Find out more and take your first step in becoming a jog leader here!

The past 12 months has undoubtedly changed the way we live and interact with one another, for the time being. In our student sporting bubble, we’ve seen students and staff alike swap the court or pitch for the streets and great outdoors. Competing virtually against one another and taking to strava to compete against others or just yourself.

Amongst some doom and gloom, there has been a number of positives that have come with the change in circumstances. With students being unable to participate in their usual sports, there has been an upsurge in walking, cycling and running activity – making the most of time outdoors and exploring the local environments.

We are excited to announce a new collaboration with jogscotland which aims to capitalise on this cultural shift and offer discounted opportunities for students and staff to train as future jog leaders.

Who are jogscotland?

jogscotland is Scotland’s recreational running network and is part of scottishathletics. It is made up of hundreds of jogging groups meeting in sports centres, community halls, parks and businesses, and jogging on their local paths, pavements and trails. The emphasis at every jogscotland group is on enjoying exercise and supporting one another in a friendly atmosphere. Groups are led by qualified Jog Leaders (mostly volunteers), who guide and inspire their members. Nobody is “too slow” to join jogscotland. Groups are available for walkers, joggers and runners of all levels, from complete beginners to long-distance runners.

Courses

Places are available on upcoming Jog Leader training course at discounted rates for staff and students within the SSS membership. Initially, the following courses have space reserved for the SSS Tribe:

Please note, travel across health boards for these sessions is permitted as they are educational courses, and all sessions are operated with social distancing in place and under guidance outlined by Scottish Athletics, sportscotland and the Scottish Government.

The course will qualify you to set up and lead your own jogscotland group once Covid restrictions allow, or to become a leader with an existing group. The blended learning Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course includes four at-home modules, followed by one three-hour practical session.

The discounted price for staff and students from SSS member institutions is:

  • £100 for staff and £80 for students, plus £10 for the required Scottish Athletics Safeguarding Course

Additional Info

  • The deadline for sign up is by Noon on Friday 2nd April 2021
  • Places are limited and will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • To sign-up for either of the two courses or for more information please contact neil@scottishstudentsport.com (SSS South East Regional Development Coordinator).
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Wednesday 10th February 2021

The latest edition of the BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar series focussed on how we can better embed disability sport into our universities, colleges and Scottish sport in general. Read our key findings and watch the webinar here!

Our next webinar, in the ever-popular BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar series focussed on the principle of better embedding disability sport into universities, colleges and Scottish sport on the whole.

We were delighted to be joined by Alison Shaw and Andrew MacKenzie from Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) who delivered a fantastic presentation on the partnership work between SDS and  SSS. They were joined by para-swimmer and current UWS student Erin Swann who gave a student-athlete perspective.

High on the agenda was the importance of collaboration, not just between SSS and SDS, but the importance of institutional collaboration with SDS. This collaboration has allowed for university and college sports clubs to gain access to training and equipment to use to make their sports inclusive to students with disabilities.

Multiple governing body development staff were in attendance, including representatives from Cricket Scotland, Tennis Scotland and Scottish Archery who shared their own best practice of adapting their sports to accommodate disabilities.

From the call, we learned a number of important elements required to create a more inclusive culture in student sport. These included:

  • Make sure para-athletes are visible in branding/imagery on campus and on social media so students with disabilities feel more welcome.
  • Create opportunities for students to participate and try out new sports/ parasports
  • Build links with community clubs to facilitate smooth transitions for athletes going from youth sport into student sport.

The success of Disability Inclusion Forums was also highlighted in the webinar. These forums play a vital role in bringing together different departments within an institution. This can often include student services, sports unions and facilities managers and creates a more collaborative approach to improving access to sports.

SDS works with a number of institutions to deliver training to staff and students. This includes UK Disability Inclusion Training (UK DIT) and organisations interested in learning more should contact their regional lead from SDS.

Huge thanks to our panelists Alison Shaw, Andrew MacKenzie and Erin Swann for sharing their insights and to all the attendees who joined the call and contributed questions and comments throughout!

🎥Watch the webinar back in full 👇

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Tuesday 9th February 2021

Netball Scotland are looking for a Digital Content Creator to help increase their digital presence across their social media and online channels. Find out more about this exciting new role here!

The Role

Netball Scotland’s Strategic Plan 2019-23 has the Strategic Aim to increase Profile.  The Digital Content Creator role will allow us to meet our aim to ‘Increase visibility across mainstream digital and media platforms’.

The Digital Content Creator will be responsible for the conception, design, and execution of original text and video content across all of our digital and social media platforms.

We are looking for someone who is passionate about sport to own and develop our brand tone of voice across all we do to drive greater brand positioning, audience engagement and new followers as well as deliver successful campaigns and partnership activation. Working across the whole business the role will require management of multiple brands and communications channels with a significant focus on the promotion of our Strathclyde Sirens Team who compete in the Sky Sports broadcast Vitality Netball Superleague.

Working closely with the Marketing Manager and Membership Communications Coordinator, the Digital Content Creator will be responsible for the digital execution of the marketing and communications strategy across Netball Scotland and Strathclyde Sirens.

  • Generate and coordinate content creation to publish across our social media channels including writing compelling copy.
  • Design and prepare digital creatives for online, digital marketing and direct comms: including video, photography, gifs, stories, graphics, posters, match day programmes, corporate messaging, blogs etc.
  • Bring consistency to the company’s brand aesthetic and develop fluency in our tone of voice.
  • Shoot and edit video and photography of live events.
  • Create short-form stories and write social copy for various executions across social networks including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok, Mailchimp, Google, website and Netball Scotland app.
  • Management of all social media platforms.
  • Provide matchday coverage including score updates, Twitter commentary and match reports.
  • Stay up to date with current trends in social media, sport and culture.
  • Capture photography, interviews and video content of athletes when in training, match days or for partner activation/campaigns.
  • Activate partnership strategies through digital creatives and assets.
  • Work with the wider team to develop new ideas and initiatives to build the Netball Scotland and Sirens brands.
  • Analyse, track and report metrics across our site and social channels.

Salary

  • £22,000 per annum, pro rata.
  • 21 hours per week contract, flexible approach to working, with evenings and weekend work required.

Application

Does this sound like you? Have you got what it takes to work in a dynamic and forward-thinking sports organisation? Do you have a portfolio of work to share with us? If so, please download the full job description for terms and submit your CV in the first instance to karen.dunn@netballscotland.com by Friday 5th March 2021.

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Wednesday 20th January 2021

In the first BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar of 2021 a panel of experts shared their insight and experience of different ways to ‘Engage the Inactive’. Read our highlights and rewatch the webinar here!

Many people see the turn of the year as a good time to form new resolutions, habits and change behaviors. With this in mind, SSS jumped straight into action hosting the first webinar of 2021 focussing on how to encourage more people to get active this year.

Experts in the field, Sarah Robertson (Oriam, Heriot-Watt) and Fraser Johnston (Scottish Cycling) were joined by Ian Lowe (SSS) to look at previous examples of best practice in this area, sharing some of their key learnings throughout on how to engage the inactive population.

Sarah presented on the Heriot-Watt Park Run which, although in its infancy, is showing positive signs of reaching new audiences. Community engagement has been excellent, but they recognise there is still work to be done to increase student participation. Fraser gave some great insight on his time working at the University of Glasgow where they encouraged students and staff to take part in ‘The Daily Mile’. He also talked about a number of Scottish Cycling’s initiatives which help to make equipment more easily accessible.

Some of the key takeaways included communication, collaboration and changing the campus culture!

Both Sarah and Fraser spoke of the surprisingly positive reaction they have witnessed to more traditional forms of communication such as posters and flyers.

Working across different departments is key to greater buy-in from an institutional, strategic perspective. This collaboration helps to make tackling inactivity a shared responsibility and further demonstrates the important part this can play in improving the student experience.

Changing the culture is the longer-term aim but one that could be supported by activity trends that have been witnessed during the pandemic. We are more acutely aware now of the benefits of regular exercise and the importance of getting daily physical activity. How can we capture this culture change to influence future culture within our student communities?

The final word was left to Ian Lowe who brought a wealth of experience from his various roles across student sport and student services. “This is a long game” he advised, and we should celebrate the small victories we get along the way. Small steps can make a huge difference in the bigger picture and it is important to remain open-minded, learn from new people/projects and remain adaptable to the ever-changing environment we find ourselves in.

Huge thanks to our panelists and to all our attendees for joining the call and contributing to the discussion.

🎥Miss the webinar? Rewatch the action here!⬇️

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