Chelsie Savins is a second year BA (Hons) Physical Education student at UCFB Wembley with ambitions to develop women’s football and school education. Here, she talks to us about her time at UCFB so far, work experiences and plans for the future…

How has your time been at UCFB so far?

So far I would say that my time at UCFB has been very enjoyable, there are multiple positives as it is a place that has so much to offer to all of us students. I have met some wonderful people who share the same level of enthusiasm and ambition as I do, and who want to be the best they can be. This helps me to ultimately push myself further and keep on becoming a better person. I have been provided with not only amazing opportunities but also amazing support, which I do not think I would have found if I had attended another institution. Plus, undertaking your degree within the environment that we do is enough to inspire anyone of any age or ability.

Chelsie, right, with former England and Chelsea midfielder Katie Chapman.

What aspects of your PE degree programme do you enjoy the most, and has there been any particular highlights?

It is difficult to choose one aspect alone as there are many enjoyable parts to it. Although, in particular, I feel that we are very lucky to have a module each year which is solely practical based, so it is not all theoretical. I believe it is extremely beneficial to us as the best way for us to learn is to do, because very soon a lot of us will be stood in front of a class of 30 students or more delivering a lesson. This is what we would have learnt within our practical lectures during our time at UCFB, and this will help ensure that this is done in the most effective and professional manner.

As a highlight, during our first year we were provided with an opportunity to work with an American football team, Wembley Stallions, for a short period of time, which was linked to our Sport and Exercise Science module. During this time, we designed meal and exercise plans for the team. Plus, we have also been fortunate enough to have external physical educators pay a visit and deliver a guest lecture, along with further guest speakers who have all been very insightful and inspiring.

For work experience you’ve taken on roles at The Football Association with the Go Sketch programme. Can you describe your time there and what you gained from the experience?

I first began my placement with The Football Association during March 2018, which ran over a six-week period. I took up the placement again during October that year, which ran for another six weeks and I have continued with it ever since. My role is to deliver beneficial football sessions to a number of students along with an extra coach on a regular basis. I feel privileged to say that I have now worked in four very diverse schools alongside The FA, at both primary and secondary level. It has been eye-opening to see how dissimilar the level of intensity of physical activity is between the two.

I feel this role has been extremely rewarding as it has allowed me to gain further valuable skills and experience that will help me significantly in the near future when I graduate, as it will be a crucial part of getting into the career field I desire to be in. Plus, it has given me the opportunity to network with individuals from The FA who I highly respect. I do not believe I would have come across these people if I had not grabbed it with both hands when it was first suggested to me.

You’ve also been coaching an under-9s boys’ football team. How have you found that experience so far and what have you been able to take from the classroom and into your sessions?

My experience from working with this group of boys so far could not have gone better; they are a lovely bunch who are always willing to listen and learn new exercises. I have built up a great rapport with the players’ parents and I’ve also managed to build a strong partnership with the head coach. This allows us to deliver our own sessions in the most effective and beneficial way for our players to succeed on match days. Plus, as I am currently undertaking my FA Level 2 badge, the club offered me the advantage of working with an FA Coach Mentor who is the Assistant Coach at Tottenham Ladies, who I have also built a brilliant rapport with and am grateful to still continue to work with. I have really appreciated getting constructive criticism and recognition from her, which has helped significantly for my own development as a coach.

During previous lectures the importance of incorporating differentiation measures into all activities has been strongly emphasised. I now make this a priority when it comes to planning sessions since the boys all have a variety of ability levels, so I always aim to make them well-structured enough to ensure that by the end of the session each player will feel a sense of joy or achievement.

What are your career aspirations for when you graduate from UCFB?

Currently I am aspiring to take up a PGCE that will eventually enable me to teach within secondary school education. However, at the same time I aim to get myself further involved within the football industry and hopefully work my way up through The FA, either within their Physical Education Unit or at the heart of developing women’s football. I want to help encourage more young girls to get involved for the women’s game to eventually reach the stage that it deserves to be at. Both of these I have always been extremely passionate about.