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Mastering sports event management

A year ago, Amanda Isada was completing her Masters in Sport Management undertaking a professional practice placement with Harbour Sport and Harbour Volleyball in Auckland. Next month, she will manage the 51st Volleyball New Zealand Secondary School Championships held at the Central Energy Trust Arena Manawatu and Massey University – a role she picked up as a direct result of her Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experience.

The business administration manager for Volleyball New Zealand says the WIL placement was very rewarding. “I learnt so much about community sports, marketing, communications and event management. Not only did I learn about the organisation, but I learned about myself as well. How I work with others, what part of the industry I want to pursue, what type of people I would want to work for and with. I was able to contribute to the organisations, and there was never a dull moment.”

Professor Andy Martin from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition supervises the WIL placements. His recent research focused on how to enhance supervision and student WIL experiences. The research, funded by Ako Aotearoa, was undertaken in conjunction with colleagues from Auckland University of Technology, University of Waikato, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, and Malcolm Rees, manager of Massey’s Student Survey and Evaluation Unit.

Professor Martin’s findings highlighted that workplace supervisor support in setting expectations and engaging in the initial planning and organising were important factors in effective management of the WIL placement. “The workplace supervisor role then moved beyond providing the student direction and feedback to more of a mentoring role. This role provided them with professional development and continued to be valuable into the future,” he says.

Ms Isada’s experience reinforces these findings. “My mentors and colleagues were very supportive in every way. I learned so much from them and talked to them about various things happening in sports around North Harbour, Auckland and the country. My colleagues gave me advice in terms of personal growth; my mentors helped my professional growth. The culture is great and gave me an understanding of the kind of environment I would want to work in, the kind of people I want to work with, and the kind of person I should be as well.”

Professor Martin says, “The student focus on setting clear expectations for themselves and the placement, and making the most of the WIL experience is important in enhancing the development of Massey graduate’s employability characteristics, such as of self-management, effective communication and leadership.”

Next month’s national volleyball tournament will be supported by current Massey sport development students who will be helping at the event in volunteer roles.

“The new sport development major within the revised Bachelor of Sport and Exercise will help prepare students for work in the varied and growing area of sport development by providing knowledge in topics such as sport organisational structure and function, event and facility management and sport coaching, along with sociological, performance and business issues linked to sport,” Professor Martin says.

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