Current University student and former Knights Sports candidate Blaise Gapp took the time out of his busy University schedule to answer a few of our questions and to share his experience so far of his University life coming from one of our Full Time BTEC Programmes.
How are you finding your time at Loughborough University?
Since starting my journey at Loughborough, I have found the whole process to be fulfilling and beneficial towards my ultimate goal of becoming an elite athlete. Combing my training with my academic studies has been challenging at times, however I have learnt to manage my time equally between the two. I spent my first year in halls making new friends and learning to look after myself, it is amazing how quick you mature when you have to. The second year has been slightly different, as I have now moved to a house with seven fellow students.
What are you studying there?
Academically, I am currently within the second year of a 3-year BSc (Hons) Applied Sports Science and Management degree. I am also a squad member at the International Futsal Academy which is the country’s leading full time independent futsal and education programme conceived by the currant England futsal senior coach, Michael Skubala.
What is life like as a university student?
Student life can be very varied depending on what kind of person you are. Obviously you have to learn to manage your time and look after yourself, as there is no one there to prompt you. I am probably not typical, as I am tea-total and tend to go to bed and rise early. Due to my training schedule, I sometimes have to wake up at 05.00am to have breakfast, then walk the 30-minute journey from my accommodation and arrive for sessions, which can start at 7.00am. However, there is always plenty time to relax and enjoy yourself in between training and studies.
How does it compare to your past BTEC Programme?
Having joined Aldershot Town FC as an under 13 from Wycombe Wanderers, I progressed through the age groups and gained a BTEC qualification at the age of 18. It was always my intension to continue my education combining it with a full time training schedule, luckily this was available at Loughborough and the IFA. The programmes are very similar, in so much that they both require hard work and stamina, obvious studying a degree is the next step up from a BTEC, but the principle is the same.
How useful was your BTEC qualification to getting you onto this course?
More than 100,000 BTEC students apply to UK universities each year, so there is no question that a BTEC qualification is an important tool for entry into university. I was fortunate enough to receive an unconditional offer from Loughborough, but I would not have had the required total UCAS points needed without the BTEC qualification. Doing the sport BTEC at Knights Sports was a great launch pad for preparing me for my degree.
Where does this course lead you? Where would you like it to lead you?
As I have said, my primary aim is to play professional football/futsal, which is something I shall pursue to the best of my ability. Nevertheless, graduating next year with a BSc (Hons) Applied Sports Science Management degree will definitely be a great asset and confidence booster whether seeking employment as it opens many doors career wise or studying for a Masters degree.
How have Knights Sports assisted in your university life so far?
Part of my current studies for my degree, required me to do a work placement. I was fortunate enough to be able to do this with Knights Sports. They allowed me to work closely with them and from this I came up with an idea of conducting a feasibility study, examining the potential of establishing a futsal scholarship academy scheme within their group. Through this experience I have also developed an interest in corporate commercial management within the sports sector.
Would you recommend a BTEC Sports programme to others?
If you’ve always had a passion for sport and have wanted to stay connected within the industry, whether it be a career pathway as an athlete; a coach or even behind the scenes, then I would highly recommend a BTEC qualification to be the foundation for starting out.