The SSS Leadership programme is a fantastic way for future leaders to learn more about themselves and their leadership style and the 2021/22 cohort is now open for applications.
SSS is excited to announce the return of the Leadership Programme, open to students at any SSS member institution. This programme is designed to develop leadership skills while also offering opportunities to reflect on experiences and undertake personal development.
The programme is delivered by SSS staff with support from the student sport community across Scotland. Additionally the first session will be a workshop delivered by Guy Richardson from Eiger Performance. Following a career in the British Army, Guy has held numerous leadership roles including with the Scottish Rugby Union and the British and Irish Lions. This workshop will set the scene for the year ahead and allow our leaders to network and socialise with each other.
Starting w/c 25th October, weekly sessions will be held over Zoom. These ‘Mastermind Sessions’ give student leaders the opportunity to explore leadership and employability-related themes and to review any tasks set during the previous week. Mastermind Sessions typically run for 45 minutes over two five-week blocks as follows:
What is leadership? (w/c 25/10)
Sport & employability (w/c 24/01)
Working with purpose
Leading cultural change
CV and Cover Letter workshop
Motivation and growth mindset
We are looking to recruit motivated, ambitious and hardworking individuals who are determined to make a positive impact within sport at their institution. The programme is a good fit for students with aspirations to undertake and/or develop a key voluntary role at their institution, or within community clubs.
Students should be involved in student sport as a participant or volunteer however, there is no requirement for them to be studying a sports-related course. SSS Leaders should be committed to developing their leadership skills.
Previous graduates of the programme have moved on to part-time or full time elected sport roles and professional roles within sports organisations.
SSS are looking to recruit 20 – 25 Leaders from member institutions across the country. If you are aware of a student who may be a good fit for the programme, please e-mail the programme lead – Neil Rankin (email@example.com) – with the following information:
Contact e-mail address
Brief statement of recommendation (max. 100 words)
Students interested in participating should contact, and apply via, their sports/students union.
SSS will then directly contact successful students with further information. The student must be able to attend the induction day on Friday 15th October.
Please note the deadline for applications is Friday 24th September 2021.
SSS has launched it’s first ever forum specifically for those coaching in student sport. With a focus on Clean Sport and Coaching Young People the first session was a big success and you can read more about it here.
With ‘Learning & People’ being one of the key areas of development work for SSS as we move forward from the pandemic, the SSS Coaching Network has been launched to support the development of coaches at all stages of their coaching journey.
Student sport in Scotland is home to a huge number of coaches, whether that’s coaching intramural, recreational teams or elite performers on Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth pathways. Without this network of coaches student sport wouldn’t deliver the breadth or quality of opportunity that it does.
This introductory session brought together coaches from across the SSS membership. 11 different sports were represented on the call, demonstrating the diversity of experience available within the group. One of the key aims of the group is to allow coaches to learn different approaches, coaching methods and skills – having coaches from multiple sports has already proved beneficial to participants!
This opening session included a presentation on Clean Sport from Sarah Gandon, Player Development Manager at Netball Players Association and Netball Coach at the University of Glasgow. It was a vital reminder that coaches at any level hold some responsibility for educating athletes and ensuring they know what they are putting in their bodies.
We also gained insight on coaching young people from Andy Goldie, Academy Director at Dundee United. Andy talked us through the ‘Messy Middle’ in young players development journey, and we learned about the culture within one of Scotlands top youth academies. Andy praised the value of volunteering across a variety of sports and how that supported his own development.
There will be numerous sessions throughout the year as we look to provide support for all coaches within the Scottish Student Sport community. The next session on October 19th will look at Concussion and Mental Health. We’ll also offer the opportunity to participate in a mentoring programme for more experienced coaches to share insight and best practices with their less experienced counterparts.
If you would like to join the Coaching Network you can join our Basecamp group and get involved in the conversation by clicking HERE.
Miss the webinar? Re-watch all the action here! 💻 👇
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: 9th August 2021 at 09:00
COVID-19 09/08/21) – Update
A further update was provided by the First Minister on the 3rd of August 2021, confirming that all of Scotland will move “Beyond Level 0” on Monday 9th of August. Although restrictions are being eased it was also confirmed that the Scottish Government will retain the option of putting in place local measures and travel restrictions to manage any future virus outbreaks.
People who are symptomatic, including close contacts, should self-isolate for 10 days as per the NHS Scotland guidance. From the 9th of August, close contacts of 18 years of age or over who have been double vaccinated for more than 14 days or 5-17 year-olds, with no symptoms, will be able to take a PCR test and end self-isolation if the result is negative. No one who is self-isolating should attend a sports facility or activity.
For each sport, please find the up-to-date information HERE. SSS is working closely with our members, partners, Scottish Governing bodies, and sportscotland throughout this time to provide further guidance and information should things change.
For any COVID – 19 related queries please contact Chris Purdie, Head of Competitions.
It is safe to say moving to university or college can be a daunting experience for anyone. In our latest webinar, we heard from QMU student Brenna Collie and Fife College student Cameron Hemphill on the transition process for students with a disability moving onto university or college.
As part of the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Young Start Programme, 1st year Queen Margaret University student Brenna Collie and Fife College student Cameron Hemphill both agreed that the topic of transitioning to University and College as a disabled person was an area they would have appreciated more guidance on. From there, the idea of a webinar focusing on transition was created.
Once Brenna and Cameron shared their idea, they gained support from SDS’ Grampian Regional Development Manager Alison Shaw who brought together Scottish Student Sport (SSS), Lead Scotland and Robert Gordon University student-athlete, and SSS Disability Lead Laura Pilkington to discuss the idea of a webinar further.
The webinar was led by students Brenna and Laura who provided background and shared insight and their previous experience as to what it was like transitioning into higher and further education with a disability. We also heard from Lynne Glen of Scottish Disability Sport, Rebecca Scarlett of Lead Scotland, and Eilidh Paterson of Scottish Student Sport.
The webinar was opened with Brenna providing the attendees with a bit of background of how this webinar came to be before handing it over to Rebecca who told us about Lead Scotland’s work and how they can assist pupils or students when transitioning to University or College which included some top tips and some very useful links:
RGU student-athlete Laura took us through her student journey which as she said herself, “was not a straight line” as well as sharing some personal stories and key tips. Then it was the turn of SDS’ Participation Manager Lynne to tell the attendees how the staff can assist students with disabilities to take part in local activities whether you are staying where you are or moving away. Lynne then handed it back to Brenna who took us through her first year at QMU, how she prepared to move, the support she sought out, and what she is looking forward to next semester. Before wrapping up, the panel answered questions from the attendees most of which were current or future students seeking advice.
SSS’ Regional Development Coordinator Eilidh said:
“It was excellent to work with our long-standing partners, SDS and Rebecca at Lead Scotland. Our development work at SSS focuses on supporting all community members to lead an active and supporting lifestyle. As Laura and Brenna said, moving on to University or College can be a daunting experience – joining a sports team can help alleviate some of this.
“The webinar provided some practical examples of how students with disabilities can be active during their studies. Equality & diversity is a mainstay of SSS and we are looking forward to heightening our work in this area in the upcoming years alongside Disability Lead Laura and students, with the support of our friends at SDS & Lead Scotland.”
If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to email SSS Regional Development Coordinator Eilidh and she will do her utmost to help.
In case you missed it! Read all about the highlights from the SSS Conference 2021! Including photos, videos, key themes and more…
Proudly sponsored by PRECOR, we were delighted to bring together over 80 attendees from 18 different institutions in Scotland for the return of the SSS Conference!
After last years SSS Conference was sadly cancelled due to COVID – there was increased appetite and anticipation heading into this years event – with many guests and attendees experiencing SSS Conference for the first time.
Having said that, the whole experience was a totally new phenomenon for everyone with it being the first Conference delivered virtually. Over an action-packed two days, we connected members, friends, institutions and partners across the country for a celebration of student sport.
Despite being held remotely, we were determined to ensure SSS Conference would be an ‘Always Active’ Conference. Due to the nature of working from home and staring at screens for long periods of time we recognised the need to ensure our attendees kept active and engaged in between and even during sessions. Standing desks were encouraged wherever possible, sessions were delivered via podcast with attendees encouraged to listen along whilst ‘on the move’, active challenges featured heavily (more on that later), and as always, traditional ‘SSS Standing Ovations’ were observed throughout to welcome and thank our guests.
Sustainability was another key emerging theme from the conference. Speakers, discussion and conversations often routed back to the importance of sustainability and the need to look after our planet in every way we can. In advance of the conference, we partnered with Trees For Life and purchased a grove in the Scottish Highlands. For every attendee/speaker/contributor that signed up to this year’s conference we planted a tree – that means there are 110 new trees in the Scottish Highlands thanks to you! We plan to continue planting trees for each milestone we reach, whether that be each time a new staff member joins our team, to welcome them aboard, or for Conference attendees in years to come.
To kick things off, our attendees were met with a welcome video – introducing a few members of the incoming sabbatical line-up and a few of our SSS staff – representing some brand new stash… 👀
After a brief introduction from Chief Operating Officer Stew Fowlie, Professor Damian Hughes got the ball rolling with a sensational opening keynote session. Damian is well known for his role co-hosting the High-Performance Podcast and he included insight and analysis from a number of guests he had interviewed. Damian spoke about creating a high-performance culture and the importance of having a set of “non-negotiable” behaviours to create a culture within a team. Throughout the session, there was plenty of opportunities to engage with Damian, with quizzes, interactive challenges and a Q&A segment at the end. It is safe to say Damian set the tone of inspiration and innovation to follow.
SSS Team photo with our keynote speaker Damian Hughes!
From one podcast to another – following Damian’s session, attendees were then encouraged to get outside and tune into our next session on the move – listening to Stew Fowlie and Gavin Rittoo host a special Conference addition of the #SSSPOD. The episode included an in-depth preview of the Conference and an exclusive interview with our brand-new team wear provider.
The afternoon session focused on active living, engaging students and developing active lifestyles. A highly informative and engaging panel was led by Kim Atkinson from Scottish Sports Association (SSA). Kim was joined by Andy Mytom and Ross Cunningham who brought professional expertise in the areas of design and communications respectively. As we begin the recovery from the pandemic it is imperative to be responsive to new demands from the student community about how they engage with, and enjoy, sport and physical activity.
Following the discussion, delegates were given the opportunity to give their input on the conversation and discuss key themes through the use of breakout rooms on zoom. Before Iona Grant & Hana Nasser from the Edinburgh University Women’s Hockey Club, took to the stage to share their story of what they did to look after their member’s mental health during the pandemic.
To close day 1, we were treated to a mouthwatering clash in the ring… Our own SSS Regional Development Coordinator, Neil Rankin, laced up his gloves for a 1v1 with Scotland’s first female Boxing World Champion – Hannah Rankin. Rather than throwing punches however, Neil was throwing questions to the professional sportswoman who shared some of the highs and lows of her journey in sport so far. The discussion ranged from the introductions to combat sports, the pressures of being a woman in sport to the challenges of balancing becoming World Champion and a classical music degree! Hannah challenged delegates to showcase more women’s sport and create role models within their clubs and institutions to inspire the next generation. A great way to round off day 1!
Hannah Rankin gives guest a glimpse of her World Champion Belt!
Happy Birthday to y̶o̶u̶ Scottish Student Sport! 🎉🎉🎉
The #TimeforTen challenge got people across the country moving to the theme of 10. Whether it was walking, running, cycling, skipping, circuit training or in some cases, even swimming – it was fantastic to see so many people join in with the challenge across our social channels!
Members and friends of the network take part in the #TimeForTen Active Challenge.
Everyone who participated in the challenge was encouraged to listen along to our second special episode of the #SSSPOD. On this episode Stew and Gav were joined by members of the SSS community past and present for a trip down memory lane, celebrating our best bits!
After a quick shower and change, we were back on Zoom to digest a trilogy of Best Practice. Sarah Gandon kicked things off with some key updates on Healthy Body Healthy Mind which has seen the following achievements over the past year:
✅ University of the Highlands and Islands – Training Towards
🥉 Fife College and University of Glasgow – Bronze Award
Presentations of best practice were made by Kirsten Mullen (Fife College) and Shereif McGregor-Kholeif (University of Glasgow) demonstrating the ambition of each institution to engage with the project. Professor Moira Lafferty followed this with some key updates on the CHANGES project and how this can be delivered virtually to clubs ahead of returning to sport in September. The final part of the session was an inspirational presentation delivered by Sam Winton, founder of Here for Sport – a social enterprise focussed on creating more inclusive communities through sport.
After lunch, delegates were treated to a fantastic panel led by Pam Dewar from sportscotland in conversation with Mel Young and Dougie Samuel. This explored the trio’s involvement in the sport for social change movement, with Mel being the co-founder of the Homeless World Cup and Dougie the current CEO at Spartans Community Football Academy. Collaboration was a key theme in this discussion and with hundreds of sports clubs as part of the SSS community, there is great potential and opportunity to link with community clubs and deliver a bigger social impact. Breakout sessions were then led by participants from sportscotland’s Changing Lives programme, exploring themes of inclusion and purpose!
To finish, no SSS Conference is the same without an inspirational closing keynote, and this year delegates were treated to a Q&A from Craig Burn. Craig has enjoyed a diverse career in sport that has landed him in the role of Director of Strategy, Policy and Impacts for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, which takes place in Scotland. Craig gave us an insight into the challenges and opportunities he’s faced throughout his career and left us excited about future volunteering opportunities with the world championships. In conversation with Stew Fowlie, Craig spoke openly about the need to design sustainability into the delivery of the Championships and how they are working to reduce the carbon footprint of such a huge sporting event.
A huge thanks to all our guests, attendees, speakers and contributors for their inspirational and motivational input throughout! The event was a welcome reminder as to how much hard work goes on behind the scenes, up and down the country to ensure that the overall student experience is enhanced through sport and physical activity.
Shout-out to all our SGB partners that attended the event and to Dave Swiss and the team at Precor for their unrivalled support – sponsoring EVERY Conference since 2006!
Finally, well done to all out outgoing sabbatical officers that are leaving this year – you have all done a tremendous job in an unprecedented year. Best of luck for your future endeavours and we hope to keep as many of you in the sporting bubble as possible.
To kick off our 10 year-anniversary celebrations we are inviting everyone to join in with our #TimeForTen active challenge! Find out more about the challenge and how you can get involved.
This year at SSS we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary! To mark the special occasion, we are inviting everyone to join in with our #TimeForTen active challenge!
As part of this year’s SSS Conference | Always Active we are encouraging all our members, partners, students, staff, alumni and friends of the network to get involved with our challenge.
Here is how to get involved:
On Thursday 10th June – we invite you to get active and move your body to the theme of 10.
What you do is entirely up to you, so whether you’re completing 10,000 steps, cycling 10 miles, bashing out 10 press-ups or wheeling for 10 minutes – it all counts!
To keep you company we will be releasing a special #SSSPOD episode celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary. Available from the 10th June, our bonus episode will take a special look back at our highlights from across the student sport network over the last 10 years and beyond.
Hear from former students, staff, Scottish Governing Bodies, partners and sports professionals as we take a trip down memory lane.
Join us online to mark the occasion by sharing a photo of your activity with us on social media using the hashtag #TimeForTen. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Whether you are a current student, staff member, alumni, member, partner or friend of the network we are encouraging everyone and anyone to get active and take #TimeForTen.
We are now accepting nominations for the 2020/21 SSS Awards! This year we have revamped our awards line-up with six brand new awards up for grabs! Find out more here.
We are delighted to announce that the SSS 2020/21 Awards are officially open!
This year we are doing things a little bit differently. As opposed to our usual individual and club awards, this year our awards will be based on the SSS values! Given the unusual and challenging year that everyone has faced, we wanted to recognise the incredible work and many success stories across our sector and celebrate the amazing people involved in student sport in Scotland.
The awards will therefore be based on the SSS values and we are looking for nominations for the following categories: Ambitious, Collaborative, Inclusive, Innovative, Responsive, Sustainable, Honorary President’s Medal. An additional eight award, the Dr Rob Macpherson SSS Volunteer of the year award, will be selected by the SSS staff.
We are accepting nominations in the following categories:
Ambitious – Who is this aimed at? Unsung heroes – juggling multiple projects/things at once.
Collaborative – Who is this aimed at? Best online learning resource/best practice sharing, coaching and officiating, Zoom webinars.
Inclusive – Who is it aimed at? An inclusion champion – someone who has made their sport more accessible and available to all.
Innovative – Who is it aimed at? Those who have been exceptionally innovative and creative – i.e using Zoom workouts, creating new podcasts, performance athlete finding new ways to train.
Responsive – Who is it aimed at? Examples of best practice in adapting to COVID, new ways of working and flexibility.
Sustainable – Who is it aimed at? Sustainability champions – people/groups that have incorporated sustainability into their clubs/work.
The above awards can be won by individuals or groups, so please feel free to submit nominations for both outstanding individuals and student sports clubs!
Honorary Presidents Medal – This award is for any individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to/lasting impact on student sport at a local, regional or national level. Nominees should be regarded as wonderful examples/ advocates of student sport and their behaviour should resonate with the above SSS values.
The final award is the Dr Rob Macpherson Award. This award differs slightly from the rest of our awards – there are no nominations, instead, the winner is selected by the SSS staff team as opposed to the Executive Committee. The award is aimed at any individual who has made an outstanding contribution to volunteering with Scottish Student Sport.
On Sunday 25th April, in the Glasgow sunshine, members of the SSS Tribe took part in the Jog Leaders training through SSS’ collaboration with Jog Scotland and Scottish Athletics.
The Leadership in Running Fitness course is delivered regularly by Jog Scotland and, through collaboration, individuals from SSS member institutions were able to participate at a discounted rate. The course comprises of a number of theory modules and a practical session, which in this instance was taken at Scotstoun in Glasgow. Having staff and students with this kind of qualification will allow institutions to be prepared to harness the increased interest in recreational running that we have seen over the past year.
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.
Here’s what participants had to say:
I signed up because running is something that I enjoy and have an interest in. Having this training will help me to encourage and motivate others when I begin leading running groups in my local area with fellow students at New College Lanarkshire but also the wider community. The course was very informative and enjoyable, and the tutors on the day were fun and encouraging. Helping others to improve their fitness, health and wellbeing is important to me as an individual and as a student.
Kellyann McGraith (HND Fitness, Health and Exercise @ New College Lanarkshire)
The course is ideal for us as it allows us to engage students at Glasgow in the new beginners jogging groups we are setting up. We have noticed that our members are keen to exercise outdoors as much as possible and the social, physical and mental benefits of these activities is invaluable.
Calum Hill (Active Lifestyles Lead @ University of Glasgow)
Despite the lockdown, 18 students recently took the first steps in their basketball coaching career. In collaboration with Basketball Scotland, two ‘Make It Happen’ coaching courses were delivered, organised by the SSS Basketball Development Group.
The Make it Happen coaching course helps new coaches take their first steps on the coaching pathway. This can be attended by all students and is suitable for all ages and any level of basketball experience. The course offers that foundation level of coaching and no previous coaching experience is needed to complete the course.
The collaboration with Basketball Scotland meant student candidates were offered a reduced fee to participate, making it more accessible for more people. This key link with the governing body will allow the SS Basketball Development Group to deliver more courses for the student body. Going forward the group aims to deliver a minimum of one course per semester for all students. This will support those students who wish to take their coaching career further and work through the Basketball Scotland coaching pathway.
The course takes 3 hours so is perfect for those who are looking to test the coaching waters. By getting so many students through these courses it places students at the center of efforts to grow the game of basketball in universities and colleges, and in future roles with community clubs.
Chris Kindlen, Workforce lead for SS Basketball Development Group, said:
“The University & College community offers the perfect platform for developing as a coach, or indeed a table official or referee. This is the great opportunity to take advantage of easily accessible and affordable courses. Undertaking this type of training can lead to so many more opportunities. I did my coaching qualifications whilst at university and later got the opportunity to coach for country”
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!