Students Inspired by Successful Sport Alumni

Our Sport students had a visit from former student, Dr Stephen Mansfield, last week. Successful Alumni Stephen was on campus to give our current students an inspiring insight into his life and career, presenting his journey since leaving College.

Stephen provided the students with a unique insight into his journey through education to the present day. After leaving Cardinal Heenan High School with no GCSEs and transitioning directly into employment, he struggled to maintain a permanent job and walked a troubled path, which unfortunately led to him obtaining a criminal record.

Stephen always dreamed of working in education teaching Sport, but after his difficult career journey, he was unenthusiastic about his chances of achieving that dream. Stephen decided he needed to make a change for his future, and enrolled onto a Level 2 Sport course at Knowsley Community College. “Joining the College was as a turning point in my life,” Stephen told us. “I really took to the course and discovered my passion. I made the most of my College experience and took advantage of every opportunity I could.”

After completing his Level 2 and Level 3 Sport qualifications at College, Stephen achieved the grades he needed to secure a place at Edge Hill University to study Sport Development, later completing a Masters Degree in Sport and Sociology at the University of Chester.

Stephen admitted he faced some difficulties throughout his studies. “The level up from my degree to a masters was a shock to the system,” he told us, “it was a lot more difficult than

I expected, but during this time I got to work on some amazing projects, and thanks to my tutor Pam’s support, I even got to return to Knowsley Community College to undertake some teaching.”

The difficulties he faced didn’t deter Stephen from continuing his studies; last year, he celebrated one of his proudest achievements so far, completing a PhD in Criminology.

During the course of obtaining his PhD, Stephen had the chance to take part in some amazing projects, completing research with the Youth Justice System into the experience of male inmates and how this can be improved, working as a mentor for people recently released from prison and delivering workshops within youth justice services. Stephen also worked as a lecturer alongside his studies, fulfilling his lifelong ambition of working in education.

Stephen continues to work part time as a lecturer at Edge Hill University and has also started his own private venture as a Youth Justice Consultant.

Stephen told us: “I wanted to share my experiences with the students since leaving school and College, so that they could hear the real and honest truth of my journey. This could have been a very different talk if I didn’t make the decision to enrol at College at 17. I wanted to show the students the opportunities that are available to them from studying this course if they are willing to put in the work. It was nice to be able to give something back to the students who are starting their journey where I once was.”

Deputy Head of School for Sport, Pam, said: “it was a real pleasure to have Stephen back in College to speak to our students. It is so important for our students to hear from our Alumni and see first-hand what they can achieve. We always love it when our students keep in touch and give us updates on their careers since leaving us, and we are so proud of everything they go on to achieve. It is a privilege to be a part of their journey!”

Many thanks to Stephen for providing our students with the inspiration they need to achieve their goals and succeed.

Think you’ve got what it takes to shoot for success like Stephen did? Learn more about our Sport courses here.