By Jon Daniels, Director of Rugby at the Scarlets

Almost 30 years ago I left my hometown Llanelli to study BA(Hons) Sport and Human Movement Studies in what is now Cardiff Metropolitan University, and I must admit, I had no idea what career I would end up in or indeed the huge growth sport was about to experience.

By now 'Sport' is a multi-billion-pound industry in the UK employing tens of thousands of people but more importantly, and somewhat uniquely, is at the heart of our communities. It is often deployed as a vehicle through which societal challenges like physical and mental health, social inclusion, diversity and unemployment are addressed.

Despite the sheer scale of sport and its significance in society, in my time in the industry the opportunities to access high quality, industry led education has lagged behind the exponential growth sport has experienced but I am pleased to say this is changing. 

Jon Daniels

Director of Rugby at the Scarlets

Image of Jon Daniels

A few years back I took the plunge and enrolled on the Masters in Sporting Directorship which was a collaboration between VSI Executive Education and Manchester Metropolitan University which I found hugely rewarding and helpful. The course gave me the chance to test my experiential learning with the application of academic rigour and also to listen to and share ideas with some of the most contemporary figures in the world of leadership and sport.

I recall delivering a keynote speech to a group of leaders in education where I talked of our desire to learn being what distinguishes us as humans. That is not to say we are the only species with the ability to learn but overall, it is clear our position on this planet is down to our desire to learn and our ability to adapt.

Some would also rightly say the worst aspects of our contribution on earth is due to our refusal to learn and to adapt but that debate is for a different forum. My point is, I cannot overstate the importance of continuously challenging yourself to be better prepared for the challenges of tomorrow’s world.

The sports industry needs more people with relevant skillset, knowledge, and experience to cope with what it throws at us so I would encourage anyone with aspirations to be a manager or leader in sport to commit to developing all three – skillset, knowledge and experience. If you can complement these three things with the right attitude, then you will be an asset to the sports industry and will enjoy a challenging but hugely rewarding career.

If you have an interest in Sport Management, then our MSc Management (Sport) programme is perfect for you. It explores a huge variety of key areas which are crucial to becoming a successful manager within this exciting industry.

It is open to individuals with a 2:2 or above in any undergraduate degree and you can enrol in September 2021 or January 2022.


Date published: 14/01/2021