A New Sports and Exercise Job for Al

Well, that felt odd this morning… Heading off to work while the sun was shining and Anna and Morgan were off at home. It’s usually the other way around, I’m the one staying at home whilst they head off to school and work, but not today thanks to my new(ish) job at the University.

Yes, as well as running my own website design business, being a house husband doing most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry and other chores at home, keeping on top of the gardening and doing some occasional odd-jobs painting, decorating or gardening for others, I’m now also working two days a week in a proper 9-5 job – that’s not like me at all! Well, I say 9-5, it’s actually officially 9 am – 3 pm so that I can finish in time to collect Morgan from school, so it’s only 12 hours a week. However, by the time I get there and back plus do all of the other stuff that needs doing it barely laves enough time to be a full-time triathlete as well!

The job itself is a lab technician in the Sports and Exercise Department at the University. I therefore spend my days making sure the labs run smoothly, calibrating various pieces of equipment, fixing things when they break, setting up labs for practicals, dissertation and research testing, mixing up supplements for various tests, making sure the students are using the labs and equipment properly and have the necessary bits of paper to say that they can use them, washing up, setting up rooms for conferences or presentations, sorting out IT issues, general trouble-shooting and of course keeping the website up to date.

Now that term has finished and the students should have finished testing in the labs for their dissertations things should be a little quieter here and my role will change to cover maintenance tasks that need doing from time to time such as PAT testing electrical equipment and making inventories of what we have and haven’t got.

Being the Sports and Exercise Department does at least mean that I have an interest in the research that is going on here and therefore get on well with most of the academic staff in the department. I also got to go to a lecture by Dr. Kevin Currell , a visiting lecturer who has worked with the Great Britain Triathlon team for over six years. Now, as Head of Performance Nutrition at the English Institute of Sport he oversees a team working across more than 30 Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports. He has worked not only with the Great Britain Triathlon team helping the athletes achieve the sports first Olympic medals at London 2012, but also supported the GB Canoe Slalom team throughout the London Olympic cycle. Kevin studied Sport Science at Liverpool John Moores University as an Undergraduate, followed by a Masters in Sports Exercise Physiology at Sheffield and a PhD from the University of Birmingham on the effects of carbohydrate in endurance performance.

His lecture was about his career path and the work of the English Institute of Sport. It  highlighted the qualities needed from individuals, teams, coaches, athletes and institutes in order to achieve medal tallies such as that by Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games and what it will take to beat that tally in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It was quite nice to be sat in a lecture theatre again, although somehow it was 20 years ago that I first started University and I therefore certainly felt more like an imposter member of staff than a student! Quite how it was 20 years ago though I’ll never know.

As far as the job goes, it’s fine. It is only temporary, so although it might help a little financially for a few months it isn’t really any more reliable a source of income than that of the other ‘self-employed jobs that I do. Every little bit helps though.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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