An image of Andrew playing tennis in his Son sports kit

February 21, 2024, by brzms6

Navigating the path from master’s to dream career

By Andrew Higham, master’s graduate

After working for a few years I wanted to investigate my passion for education in a more formal setting. I was drawn to a master’s degree for the opportunity to represent a team again through my tennis playing. The University of Nottingham had made such progress with their sports teams that it inspired me to compete again and the idea of being part of a wider organisation within my individual sport was a big pull.

How was your master’s degree structured?

Learning technology and education (now digital teaching and learning) was a perfect blend of online and taught classes that allowed flexibility for me to continue my work. Moving back to Nottingham I coached full-time for the County Tennis Programme alongside attending class on Thursday afternoons. The course was structured in a blended learning format which meant studying daily in my own time before using that knowledge I’d learnt in classes with my fellow students. It was a fantastic way for me to feel like I could continue to earn alongside learning.

The course was structured into one module a term for me as I studied on a part-time basis. Year one started with learning the key psychological learning theories and more about how people learn through social environments. The first year was hard for me to adapt back to university-style learning and assessments but I felt very supported by the department. In the second year we moved into talking more about how technology can be used to affect the learning of students with the third year based on my own dissertation research project.

I believe that my time completing my master’s gave me an advantage over other sports coaches as I reflected more and more on my manner of teaching rather than the content. This is not to say the content isn’t important, but I felt that I had a high level of knowledge in that area already and was able to bring both together in order to deliver lessons that were more impactful and progress students at a quicker rate.

What did you do after you completed your master’s?

After my master’s degree I was hired by the university to work as their Assistant Tennis Coach and believe that my master’s degree was a big part of what set me aside from other candidates. I worked for the university for three years in which we set the record for the most BUCS point achieved by any singular sports team ever in the 2022/23 season.

what are you doing now?

Right now, I am living in Melbourne after moving here to work at a tennis club in the south of the city. After 3 years working for the university I took the opportunity to experience working abroad in a different environment to test my coaching skills.

Part of this included working with Gabriela Knutson (WTA 155) in the qualifying event for the Australian Open grand slam tennis tournament. We worked together across the tournament where she won two matches before losing out in the final round of qualifying for the main event. It was incredible to experience coaching at that level and I really enjoyed being part of the tournament.

I’ll return to the UK in the summer of 2024 and will be on the lookout for the next opportunity where hopefully my MAEd and University of Nottingham work experience will set me aside from the competition once again.

If you’re looking to develop your expertise through further study, visit our begin! website which will be able to provide you with guidance and advice.

Posted in Further study