Posted by SCL Education Group on 16.01.19
This week, we spoke to Nick Robinson, Head of Yorkshire Cricket College and Education and Participation Manager at Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, as we took an inside look into his career, and found out why his role is #morethanjustajob.
Name: Nick Robinson
Job Title: Head of Yorkshire Cricket College
Talk me through your job role and what you do…
My main role is Head of Yorkshire Cricket College, but I’m also Education and Participation Manager at Yorkshire Cricket Foundation.
As well as the College, I cover Primary School projects that we run from Headingley. We run projects that introduce children to cricket. It’s all encompassing; trying to re-engage people with the game or introduce them to it.
What are your main responsibilities?
My main responsibilities at the College are managing the team that we have, and ensuring that the coaches and tutors align.
There are so many plates spinning, so I think it’s important that we have regular meetings and hear about any issues that students have in class that the coaches might not be aware of.
One of my main roles is to arrange work experience for the students and ensure that they have access to that added value that being a student at the college includes.
As a member of the college, you can receive a range of benefits and we want to make sure that these benefits are relevant and tangible for them.
What do you love most about your job?
Probably that no one day is ever the same – there are always different things happening.
Also, I’m really into my cricket so its great to work in the environment of an international sporting stadium. It’s an amazing place to come to every day and I love working with such a variety of people.
Particularly during the seasons, being around the stadium when there’s a match on, even if I’m not watching it, the atmosphere here is great fun.
How do you live and breathe sport?
I suppose I live it because I work in the sporting sector. When you talk about cricket, you talk about sport. The Foundation has different strands; one being a health and wellbeing strand, including running clubs and yoga sessions, promoting mental wellbeing.
When you are in that environment, it is impossible not to live it because you have to practice what you preach.
Away from work, I enjoy playing sport. It’s a nice release from work and family life.
What does the power of sport mean to you?
Certainly working for the Foundation, we use sports in lots of different ways.
We want to engage people and we use sport to inspire them. In our education programme, the workbook is maths and literacy, but it’s based around a sporting context, which brings the subject to life that little bit more.
The power of sport can make people fitter, mentally healthier and can help people learn.
SCL puts the learner at the centre of everything they do, how do you do this?
I think that everything we run, we want to be student focused.
The coaching is very much athlete centred; they will dictate how the sessions look. The small class sizes promote a healthy learning environment and ensure that every individual learner is catered for, where no one has the opportunity to be left behind. Those two things from a cricket and education side are really important.
On the work experience side, we like to consult with the students, and we try to tailor their work experience opportunities to something that they are interested in.
For example, this year we spoke to a Sports Analyst at the club as a couple of our lads are interested in progressing into Analysis. We have now arranged for the boys to spend time with the Analyst to find out a bit more about what he does. It’s just important to listen to them.
How is your job at Yorkshire Cricket College more than just a job?
I want the learners to do well. It’s important to me that everyone leaves here having had a positive experience. I want to make sure that they all achieve what they want to achieve. I want to make sure that they receive the best work experience opportunities that they can and ultimately, that they leave the college feeling as though they have experienced education and sport tailored to what they have wanted.
The maximum cohort we are ever going to get is 66 students, which means you get to know them all. You can provide each of them with opportunities, which enable them to fulfil their potentials.
Talk me through your career path to date…
I was 25 when I went to University. I went travelling to Australia after Sixth Form, and then came home, got a job and floated through work.
My wife and I then had a child and I realised that I needed to get some sort of degree so that I could get a proper job. I went to University and completed a sports coaching degree. While I was at University, I was an analyst for Yorkshire County Cricket Club for three years.
Having contacts with Yorkshire, I found out that the job at the Foundation was coming up and so I applied for it. I got an interview and secured a job as a Project Officer, where I progressed to Project Manager, and then Education and Participation Manager.
It has been a good journey; joining the Foundation when it was relatively young. There were only two of us when I first joined and now there is a team of 20. It has been a good and fun process.
What are the stand out moments of your career so far?
The college is certainly up there. Bringing that from an idea to suddenly having recruitments for a first and second year. It is definitely one of the highlights.
Also coaching in America. I went to San Francisco last year, which was a highlight.
And I suppose just working for Yorkshire County Cricket Club. It really is a special place to work.
What skills and experience do you think is required to be successful in your role?
Someone that is level headed and that has the ability to be thorough. I work quite systematically.
I think experience in the sector is crucial and we really promote volunteering at Yorkshire. We have a big volunteering programme, from placing University students to match day volunteers. Getting a feel for the work environment that you are going into is important. I experienced that through being an analyst at the club before I was offered the job at the Foundation.
Nowadays, you need to volunteer to stand out from the other candidates. It’s good to have a passion for the sport that you are working in, as well as having a passion for developing people.
If you had to summarise, what opportunities are there in the industry for young people in 2019?
The variety of jobs available at Yorkshire Cricket is unbelievable. People look at the club and they think, if I’m not a coach or a player then I can’t work there.
We have a marketing department, media department, commercial, accounts, HR… I think it’s useful to understand that there’s this huge operation that goes on. You should do a bit of research and find out exactly what jobs there are, because there is literally a job for everyone.
We’ve employed a number of people at Yorkshire Cricket who have started as placement students and have impressed. A job has then come up and they have applied for it. They have a head start because they know the team, and the team know what they’re like. If they have impressed, they have a better chance.
If you had one piece of advice for your younger self, what would it be?
To think a bit more about what I wanted to do, and research my options. It’s hard to drill down and find that one thing that you want to do. My Mum always told me that I should be a teacher and I never really fancied it. I worked as a teaching assistant while I was at University and I hated it.
Don’t rush into something because you think you have to. I was late going to University but it allowed me to go in with some perspective and with a little more direction.
Maybe take a year out; travel, think about what you want to do with your life and then go to University, or perhaps not.
Try and find that area that interests you and do as much research as you can in that area to find out what opportunities are available.
What would your motto or slogan be?
If you are going to think, think big. And if you’re going to think big, think bigger.
This applies to the college. We are less than two years in and we have grown rapidly. We want to grow the product around the college, grow the benefits, ensure that the work experience is as good as it can be, and make the classrooms and the cricket facilities great.
We want to make it as good of a product as we possibly can.
What are you most proud of since starting at the college?
Some of the students, particularly from the first year, had really lost their way at school and came out of it with terrible GCSE results. You look at them now and they are passing their BTEC - they are passing it well, they are going to get a merit.
Because of the environment that we have created here at the college, and the amazing jobs that the tutors and coaches are doing, the students are now in a position where they can leave the college with the equivalent of three A-Levels, and they now have so many more options.