Paralympic gold medallist Naomi Riches MBE is among figures passing on pearls of wisdom in a mentoring programme for Buckinghamshire New University sports business and sports science students.
The Business of Sport Mentoring Programme will see over 25 industry professionals and graduates of Bucks New University meeting students face-to-face or through Skype or telephone for a minimum of one hour per month.
Tom Baker, Commercial Partnerships Director of UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport; and Jonathan Cockcroft, Commercial and Membership Director of England Hockey, are among other mentors on the programme.
Naomi is a Bucks New University graduate who won a gold medal at London 2012 in the mixed coxed fours rowing. She visited the University to meet students and launch the programme.
Naomi said: ‘It is a pleasure for me to be involved in this programme. I hope to be able to help them achieve their dreams by imparting some of the knowledge I have gathered in the world or sport and the world of business.â€¨â€¨’I would have jumped at the chance had I had the opportunity to have access to something like this when I was a student and athlete.
‘Whilst I had a lot of support back then it is different to having someone in the industry helping you.’
She added: ‘It is up to the students how they want to benefit from the programme. There is no script and we are here to help them as much as possible, so it is up to them what they want to get out of it.’
Paul Morgan, Head of Sport at Bucks New University, said the programme was developed with the Careers & Employability Service at Bucks New University.
He added: ‘This is an exciting venture and it is fantastic to have such a great calibre of mentors. There was a buzz in the room from students as Naomi Riches launched the programme, given all her achievements.
‘This programme is part of our commitment to enhancing the employability of our undergraduates and I am sure the mentors will inspire our students.’
The programme was developed by the Advisory Board for the Department of Sport Management at Bucks New University.
The board comprises sport and business experts including chairman Howard Wells OBE, who is an Associate Lecturer who is also Director of the Sport & Recreation Alliance and a FIFA Match Commissioner; former professional tennis player Mike Walker, who is Chair of Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Institute of Directors and Managing Director of Thomas International; and Janie Frampton, Director of Sports Officials Consultancy; as well as Jonathan Wilson, Managing Director of marketing firm 100AND10%.â€¨â€¨