FOUR young women are living the dream after achieving their goal of having a career in sport.
They have gone from volunteering to help run sports activities while they were still at school, studying for qualifications at college and university to now becoming successful sports coaches as Renfrewshire Leisure Active Schools Co-ordinators.
During Scotland’s Women and Girls in Sport Week – September 28 to October 4 – Amy Couttie, Samantha Duncan, Tammy Johnston and Erin Campbell revealed the role of the staff and coaching initiatives from Renfrewshire Leisure had in helping them achieve their “dream job” in sport.
Tammy Johnston was just four when she started competing in Irish dancing competitions and as she got older, Tammy began coaching younger dancers.
“This was when I discovered my love of teaching and leadership,” she says.
“Then, when I was in secondary school I came across my Active Schools Co-ordinator and it wasn’t long before I was going to primary schools delivering activities during Health Week.
“After I’d taken part in the Renfrewshire School of Sport Education programme I realised I wanted to pursue a career as an Active Schools Co-ordinator.
“I volunteered to work more than 300 hours during the programme and the Active Schools team helped me develop my confidence, leadership and core coaching skills.”
While Tammy was at university studying for a Sports Development degree, she became a sessional coach with Active Schools and ran an after-school club for participants with addition support needs.
Tammy, 21, from Paisley is now a full-time Active Schools Co-ordinator and she says: “The aims of increasing participation in sport for everyone is something I am really passionate about.
“I love walking into schools and feeling I am making a difference to young people’s lives. I was just 13 when I decided this is what I wanted to do and I never thought I would be where I am today working in my dream job.”
Amy Couttie, 24, from Howwood, in Renfrewshire explains: “My journey began when I was 14 and I volunteered to help run sports clubs in my local primary school.
“After four years of coaching in schools and extra-curricular clubs, Renfrewshire Leisure gave me a job as a sessional sports coach.
“I was dedicated to my role with Renfrewshire Leisure and after graduating with a BSc in Sports Coaching, I was focussed on pursuing a full-time career doing something I loved.”
Amy adds: “That’s now happened, as I’ve recently been given a role with Renfrewshire Leisure as an Active Schools and Community Club Development Officer.
“I’m on cloud nine that I’ve managed to get a full-time job in Active Schools – the place where I started my journey in sport.”
Samantha Duncan, 23, from Linwood got her passion for sport through her dance background and being a competitive street dancer. She came fifth in the World Championships and made the semi-final of the European championships.
She says: “My experiences and a passion for sport made me understand the positive impact sport can have on people’s lives.
“So, I continued my journey by taking a Sports Leaders course at school and completed the Renfrewshire School of Sport Education programme.
“Throughout my studies at college and university where I gained a degree in Sports Development, I volunteered as a coach with the Active Schools programme promoting and developing dance and gymnastics to young people.
“I’m now a full-time Active Schools Co-ordinator with Renfrewshire Leisure and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given over the years. Sport is a massive part of my life and it has shaped me into a confident individual.
“My dream has become a reality and I can now support young people who aspire to make a difference and help them have a career in sport – just like me.”
Erin Campbell, 23, from Houston, Renfrewshire was a sports fanatic from an early age and joined as many sports clubs as she could while at primary school. She then went on to represent Scotland playing basketball in several age groups.
Erin’s involvement with Renfrewshire’s Active Schools programme began while she was in her third year at university studying for a degree in Sport and Physical Activity.
She explains: “I had to arrange a work placement as part of the course and my local Active Schools programme seemed like the ideal place as I’d always had an interest in what it does.
“This gave me valuable experience and I’ve now got a full-time job as an Active Schools Co-ordinator.”
Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “What Amy, Samantha, Tammy and Erin have achieved is nothing short of inspirational. They can be rightly proud of their achievements. We’re also proud of them and what we’ve done to help them on their journey.
“Their stories show that girls and young women can achieve their dreams of working in a sports-related job and you can be sure Renfrewshire Leisure will be here to help the up-and-coming sports coaches and organisers of the future – just like we helped Amy, Samantha, Tammy and Erin.”