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Alumni

Andrew Bullimore

Career Path: Strength and Conditioning Coach, Derwentside Amateur Swimming Club
Location: Durham, UK

I was attracted to this profession through originally wanting to become a personal trainer, I then discovered sport-specific physical preparation through a friend at Northumbria University and was instantly certain that’s what I wanted to do. I finished my undergraduate degree after taking all the specified modules to allow access to Northumbria and moved to Newcastle to study Strength & Conditioning at a postgraduate level. Since graduating from Northumbria University I’ve worked in several places in the North East to gain valuable experience such as Gateshead College, Tyne Metropolitan College and Newcastle University.

What are you doing now?Andrew Bulimore

Currently I am heading the strength and conditioning programme for County Durham’s high-performance swimming club, Derwentside. Here I am responsible for the complete provision to a range of athletes from youth development to senior swimmers at BUCS and British national level with the aims of producing international level athletes in the next few years.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I was lucky to have contacts at Northumbria who first told me about the university and how great their experience was with the course content as well as the reputable lecturers. After my own research into the University and the lecturers it was an easy choice. In addition, Northumbria is part of the NSCA Education Recognition Program which was hugely important as this has helped me to build on my ambitions to move to the United States or Canada later in my career.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Personally, I found it excellent. There were good cross-over lectures with other courses and the seminars were a great way to learn from both the lecturers and other students of the group. There were a number of practical sessions as well to help refine my hands-on coaching skills and learn from the examples of others on the course or guest lecturers.

How connected was your course with industry?

We were heavily encouraged to find work placements during the course, lecturers would also liaise with local sport clubs and organisations to create placement opportunities. The guest lecturers were fantastic including Duncan French, Nick Grantham, Matt Wood, Joel Brannigan and Phil Hayes. All brought their own specific fields of interests to the course from basic fundamental movement skills to plyometrics to hormonal responses to training.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I came onto this course without much practical experience in strength and conditioning, having a placement really helped to apply what was being learnt in the classroom and tie everything together. This was even more helpful as the placements were a lesson in humility and helped me understand how much more there was to learn. Even if I had had plenty of practical experience, a placement would still have been essential during this course.

What was the best thing about your course?

I enjoyed the element of freedom we were allowed with assignments, both group and individual. It made you think more about a wider range of topics and allowed you to choose a subject that you enjoyed learning and reading about.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

For me personally, I think the edge lies within the NSCA Education Recognition Program of Northumbria. This may not be applicable to most, but my career ambition is to move to the United States or Canada. For any UK based coaches, it’s a time now in the industry where any big job now requires a postgraduate degree, Northumbria is a well-established name for sport coaching degrees in the UK which may help you to stand out with a good CV.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

While at the time I didn’t think I would use it, during a module I wrote an assignment about youth physical development. In my current post this background understanding has helped me build a robust youth development model to ensure athlete safety, enjoyment and to taper training loads and aims between individual swimmers of different biological maturity. In addition, the skills learnt in ‘Research Methods’ are also paramount in order to fully understand the impact and meaningfulness of published journal articles.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The course was like a buffer in-between classroom-based learning and working in the field of strength and conditioning, this was especially useful for someone like myself who came onto the course with little practical experience.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Look at your wants, needs and interests. Most importantly, look at your future or end career goal and then work backwards. Reverse engineer your career and ask yourself if studying at Northumbria University fits with your pathway.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Challenging, exciting and advancing.

For more information about me visit:

  • Instagram: @andybullimore
  • Twitter: @AndyBu11imore

 

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