Since leaving Eastleigh College in 2016, James has built up a successful business as a Sports Massage Therapist and has further undertaken a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education at Southampton Solent University. Now he is looking to fulfil a long-standing ambition and become a school PE teacher.
James did not have an easy start to life; due to a severe speech delay as a child, he didn’t speak until he was five-years-old. He subsequently suffered from confidence issues during childhood and would often struggle in the classroom environment, opting to stay silent instead of participating in discussion. Despite these developmental issues, he discovered a passion for football from a young age – it proved to be a valuable form of escapism and he found a lot of joy partaking in school PE lessons.
By the time he arrived at Eastleigh College in 2013, he knew he wanted a career in the sports industry but wasn’t sure exactly which niche he wanted to pursue. His decision to study Sport and Exercise Sciences opened up a wealth of information across a range of areas including nutrition, anatomy, psychology and physiology. The latter had particular appeal to James, especially given the amount of injuries he had witnessed during his sporting childhood.
“My time at Eastleigh College really helped open my eyes to the opportunities available to me. I acquired so much knowledge and experience during these years and am still in touch with my lecturer Carley five years later.”
“I had never considered massage therapy as a profession before, but it made so much sense once I had studied it,” said James. “I’ve always had a desire to help people and it was a big benefit to have the chance to look at fitness instructing and sports massage modules whilst I was at Eastleigh.”
Upon leaving the College in 2016, James swiftly found work with Agilaflex clinic in Winchester. For three years he worked as a Sports Massage Therapist at the clinic and in the process built up a catalogue of networking contacts in the industry. These connections helped him transition into freelance massage therapy, operating a mobile business with his own insurance and equipment.
However, as time progressed, James began to wonder if massage therapy was a career he wanted to pursue long-term – the work was irregular and he had developed a strong interest in teaching physical education. He decided to contact his Eastleigh College lecturer Carley Avery about the possibility of studying PE at University level.
“Carley guided me through the whole process, including UCAS points,” said James. “She helped me realise that I was still able to maintain my mobile massage business while completing my degree at Solent University. I even had the chance to come back to Eastleigh College to give a talk to current learners – that was really nice.”
James recently graduated from Solent University and is now looking to capitalise on his education and pursue a career in teaching PE.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have work experience in both private and state schools as a PE teacher,” said James. “I preferred the private school experience as there are more opportunities for specialised teaching in different fields. This is now my goal going forward and I feel well equipped for it thanks to the education I have had.”