Next week sees two award winning students graduate BSc Sports Coaching from the University of Sunderland – and both are hoping to make the UK a more healthy place.

Imogen Storey, from Bishop Auckland, was named County Durham Young Coach of the Year in 2016. She will graduate on the same day (Tuesday, 11 July) as Adam Woods, from Spennymoor, who was named the UK’s Young Coach of the Year 2014.

Imogen, 21, is Coach at Bishop Auckland Netball Club, coaching the under 11s team. As well as getting young players from primary school enjoying her sport, she is Captain of the adult netball team. “As you can imagine I’ve had no spare time during my degree – but I love it, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

“University had a big impact on my skills as a coach. I think having a degree makes you stand out more, but it also emphasises that you want to be a professional, you want to be specific and focus on a certain aspect of coaching.”

Adam, 21, is just as busy, working as a personal trainer as well as coaching disabled swimming and water polo alongside his studies. He admits it has been a hard slog, but adds: “University helps you communicate with the young people you’re working with, because your studies equip you with the knowledge of what is the best learning environment.”

After years of coaching young people, Adam is now looking at moving in a very different direction.

“I’m hoping to open my own gym, focussed on getting the elderly fitter. People are living longer, causing a lot of stress on the NHS, and I think a lot of that could be avoided with specialised exercise classes and elderly care.”

Imogen, who is graduating with a First, is planning to continue her studies, progressing to an MSc in Clinical Exercise Physiology, with the eventual aim of working in the NHS.

“I’d like to work in hospitals with people who have lost mobility or who are obese, and try to help them get fit.

“I’d like to help get the world fitter, basically.”

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