The Sports Science Society of the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus is securing internships across the region in a bid to improve students’ chances of success in a field of study which remains underappreciated by society.
According to President Taahir Bulbulia, mere months after launching in October, the society has already secured opportunities through a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Trinidad and Tobago’s Cunupia Football Club (FC).
He told Barbados TODAY that four students from Cave Hill have secured internships, two of them occurring over the Christmas break.
Bulbulia explained the opportunity allowed Sherisse Crawford and Matthew Serrant to put the theoretical skills gained at UWI into practice. But this is just the beginning of a series of agreements which the society’s President has promised to expand in the coming months.
“So far, Trinidadian students have been the only beneficiaries, but my vision is that we have Barbadians and students from other nationalities going over there and spending some time in a different environment and get coaching experience,” said the 20-year-old student.
“Students will now be able to go and participate in Trinidad and Tobago at the Cunupia Football Club over the next five years, where we have an exchange of students and they will be allowed to coach, manage and execute any other tasks that may be needed.”
According to Bulbulia, job opportunities for graduates of the University’s relatively new programme are slim, because many still don’t consider it a viable career option.
“In the Caribbean, when it comes to getting jobs in sports, we talk about it only as recreation, but throughout the world, sporting is simply a multibillion dollar industry. Unfortunately, the Caribbean has not bought into sport development in a holistic manner,” he lamented.
Bulbulia however stressed: “People don’t see the importance of it but you have to create your own ways. Internationally, opportunities exist but in the Caribbean jobs are only now opening up. But you have to be very creative in the midst of a slow job market. It is very difficult but we are making some strides in the Caribbean to get sport development, jobs and sports science off the ground and an initiative like this could break those barriers.”
A strong supporter of regional integration, Bulbulia suggested that strides in the development of sports science could translate into a closer Caribbean Community.
He argued: “Apart from CARICOM, what really unites the Caribbean is West Indies cricket and that is a sport. The West Indies team has been the capital of CARICOM and they have brought unity to the Caribbean and the faculty of sport has added to this. We need to see the importance of our brothers and sisters and provide opportunities for them so collectively; we can punch above our weight.
“UWI is another centre of regional integration so we need to mobilise our students at the various campuses including the Five Islands campus [Antigua and Barbuda] which is now open.
According to The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper, Trey Hart, who is the assistant coach at Cunupia FC and the holder of a BSC in Sports Science from the Cave Hill campus, facilitated the agreement.
Meanwhile, Cunupia’s coach, Michael De Four, described the MOU as “a huge stepping stone towards the enhancement of sport locally and throughout the Caribbean”.
After the agreement was highlighted in the Trinidadian press, Bulbulia indicated that a number of other clubs have come forward expressing interest in cooperating with the Faculty of Sports Science. (KS)