How the support of USW and Carlisle United Community Sports Trust has driven Ross to ensure sport is accessible.

As an avid fan of Carlisle United, the opportunity for Ross to study for a degree at his Club provided him with “great joy and a whole new feeling of excitement” which meant ‘work’ didn’t feel like ‘work’ to Ross.

Moreover, the extra support from the academic mentors at Carlisle United helped Ross learn in a way that suited him and his own personal circumstance.

He said: “Often I would go into the study centre and ask for help, they would help me structure my work in a way that my autism would understand, which would allow me to complete the work successfully.”

The University of South Wales allows students to gain practical experience in their desired nature of work, whilst allowing for a blended learning approach where students have both face-to face and online learning. The courses which are hosted at your local football club has a huge emphasis on gaining real world learning through placements with students only having to attend the University for short residential periods.

Students on the degree programme have numerous points of support, despite its blended learning approach from club mentors to lecturers. This level of support was a huge driver in Ross’ success in completing his degree with a first class.

As an individual who thrives off support and inclusion, Ross he enjoyed the residential trips that happen throughout the year. The students travel to Cardiff to take part in theory and practical sessions that allow them to meet their lecturers and peers in person.

Ross explained: My favourite part of the degree was going down to Cardiff on residential, meeting my lectures, meeting friends and having a chat with everyone because it was all people within the same boat as me, the same interests who wanted to do what I do and talking to them made me feel like I had strong friendships.”

With these bonds, and Ross’ passion for inclusion, the degree has prepared him for his future career.

“When I was growing up there was never a team that was for me my Autism, so I felt I missed out a bit. However, there’s lots of inclusion and sport involved within the degree as well as man management and methods of working with children and people with differences.  This  has helped me use those within my work and I want to make sure that in the future everyone get to enjoy sport.”

Ross currently works at Carlisle Youth Zone where he endeavours to put a smile on everyone’s faces through ensuring  everyone has access to sport.

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