Kick-start your career in sport with a Higher National

Kishan Visram completed his Higher National Diploma in Sport (Coaching and Sports Development) in 2017 at Uxbridge College. He’s now working as a personal trainer. 

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Deciding to do a Higher National 

Growing up, Kishan always knew that he wanted to work in sport. He couldn’t picture himself in an office job working 9am-5pm, so he decided to do a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Sport. The qualification covered a variety of topics, including personal training, sport organisation, analysis of sports performance and injury prevention.  

Kishan wasn’t sure what to do next but didn’t feel that he was quite ready for employment, so he progressed on to the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport, after which he completed his fitness courses which included personal training, sports massage, and circuit instructing.  

Kishan Visram

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He then describes his decision to do the Level 4 Higher National Certificate as a bit of a ‘fluke’. His family was visiting the college to find out more about engineering courses for his brother, and his parents got talking to the sport tutor, who showed them the facilities and encouraged them to get Kishan to come in and find out more about the course.  

When asked about his learning experience, Kishan talked about the benefits of having teachers who were working in the field – he felt that it brought the industry to life within the classroom. In addition, he enjoyed the level of independent working, and found benefit in small class size as this gave him more contact with the tutor. The fact that he didn’t have to do exams at the end of the course was also a bonus. 

Gaining skills for the workplace 

Kishan’s journey highlights the value of gaining work experience whilst you study. During his two-year Level 3 course, he had the opportunity to travel to Florida with the GB athletics team, where he was able to understand more about how the team train, their nutrition plans and what goes on behind the scenes with a large professional team.  

In order to prepare himself better to become a personal trainer, Kishan has completed a variety of coaching and fitness courses, including cricket, football and fitness for adolescents. To put these skills into practice, during the college holidays Kishan spent his time in America at a summer camp where he coached teams and lead competitions, as well as mentored teenagers.  

During his HND, he also worked at Canons Sports Centre - which enabled him to build up vital skills, such as customer service, teamwork and gaining experience in personal training. He believes that all his work experience helped prepare him for the world of work and bridged the gap between education and employment.  

Now, Kishan has his own personal training business, and works with different leisure organisations within London. He enjoys the personal one to one aspect to his role, as well as being able to lead gym classes with bigger groups. He is always looking for ways to upskill and can see himself continuing to do more fitness courses in the future, as he understands the importance of keeping up to date with what is happening in the industry. 

Kishan’s top tips 

We asked Kishan what advice he would have for current Higher National students. Here are his top tips: 

  1. Organisation is key! The first step is to get a diary, as you will be receiving multiple deadlines for coursework across a variety of subjects. This is important, especially if you are also in employment, as you need to be able to see your week ahead, allowing you to plan in order to meet deadlines. 
  2. I can’t stress how important it is to network and make connections with people. This allows you to benefit from receiving advice, as well as speaking with potential clients; the possibilities are endless when you create great connections. This is how I found my first fitness job; by chance I met someone in the gym with whom I had completed my sports and personal training course - they already knew I had the qualifications, and they knew my character, therefore I was offered the job instantly. 
  3. Look for a part time job in the field you’re studying in, this will help you gain real life experience and will also allow you to network.