For a long time, pursuing university studies in Physical Education almost necessarily implied the existence of a teaching vocation to develop in a Primary or Secondary school. But the increasing professionalization of the sports industry, as well as the digital transformation (accelerated due to the pandemic) and the reform of education that led to the implementation of the Bologna plan at the beginning of the century, have progressively opened the door to new related labor routes with fields such as health, sports management, technological innovation or entrepreneurship. What options are there then to develop a professional career linked to sports?
The possibilities vary depending on the academic training chosen to reach the labor market, be it university, intermediate or higher Vocational Training or the own qualifications taught by the different sports federations. “The teaching of Physical Education in Spain has changed a lot since that gymnastics we received when we were little in school,” recalls Vicente Gómez, dean of the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, ” because, to begin with, the legislation itself did not require higher education, and the teacher could be someone who had a qualification as a monitor in a sport ”.
The entry of the Bologna plan in 2000 entailed a change in methodologies that progressively focused on the acquisition of competencies and a greater choice, with new subjects linked to the scientific and technological field through five different specialties: high performance ( lead teams at the Olympic, national and international level in the field of sport); health (to help improve the quality of life of society, through physical activity); sports management (both with regard to the organization of events and sports facilities); recreation and teaching.
Among them, and beyond teaching, it is the Health branch that in Gómez’s opinion has a more promising future. This is due to the need to improve the quality of life of society through physical activity and under the control of a professional, “which in turn has benefits at the health level (as it can reduce drug consumption and spending that it entails), reduction of childhood obesity (in the Community of Madrid the third hour of Physical Education in ESO has been approved, promoting the acquisition of lasting sports habits) and at a sociological and psychological level (improving sociability and cooperation) ”. A second cycle training that includes content related to nutrition, exercise physiology, anatomy or biomechanics. The benefits are also especially relevant when the negative impact of the pandemic on these habits and on the physical and psychological health of citizens is taken into account.
Overlapping of competencies
This greater diversification of job opportunities has nevertheless caused friction with other professional groups such as physiotherapists, due to what Gómez considers an “overlapping of competences and contents” between the different university degrees (with their degrees and specialization masters), of Professional Training (such as the Higher Technician in Animation of Physical and Sports Activities and the Conduction of Physical-Sports Activities in the Natural Environment, of medium degree), as well as the sports technicians of level 1, 2 and 3 of the Superior Council Sports and the federations themselves.
Another possibility is to start with intermediate or higher degree qualifications in FP and then continue training in the university degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences. “Of the 220 first-year students that we receive each year, 30 or 35% already come from this Professional Training, much more than in previous years,” explains Gómez. “This means that we receive students two years more mature and with a degree that allows them to work, and that they have much clearer what they want than the student who has just finished high school and has passed their corresponding selectivity”.
When opting for a master’s degree, it is also convenient to check the existence of agreements with other faculties that allow the development of certain specializations, such as the University Master’s Degree in Food Engineering Applied to Health from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in collaboration with the ETUI Agronomics, Food and Biosystems; or the university master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the same university and with the ETSI of Telecommunications.
LaLiga and sports management
Regardless of the effects of the pandemic, the truth is that people are investing more and more time and money in their care and in their physical and mental well-being. And this precisely has led to a revaluation of everything related to physical and sports activity: “It is an industry that generates a lot of value in Spain (approximately 1.87% of GDP), which has grown a lot in recent years but which is not even 20% of what is going to grow in the next 10 ”, says José Moya, director of LaLiga Business School, which has just launched a International MBA in Sports and Entertainment Management. “And it’s not just about professional sports but also about amateur: It is an industry that is present at many levels, that is becoming professionalized by leaps and bounds and that is going to generate many job opportunities ”.
For Moya, this growth is noticeable not only in terms of marketing, but also in the organization of events, economic control, sports law and innovation and digitization: “The sports industry needs professionals with that passion and who are prepared to face all challenges. growth to come ”. The LaLiga MBA, which costs € 28,500 and will start next November with a reduced offer of 20 places, is aimed at both candidates who already work in the sports industry and outside of it, while wanting to contribute ” to increase the presence and visibility of women in positions of command and responsibility in the sports and entertainment industries ”.
Over nine months, students will receive personalized attention and training divided into six modules with practical cases from LaLiga and its 42 clubs, which will include content related to sports management; new trends in the area of marketing and the generation of content and entertainment (to retain followers); the organization of large sporting events (not only at the organizational level but also its importance at the image level and how it can impact the territory in which it takes place); another on technology and a final one on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Is it easy to undertake?
Another option to join the labor market is to choose to do it at the command of your own company, as was the case of Diego Moya, a graduate in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences from the University of Valencia and founder of Training and Spacefit, acquired in 2019 by Jeff. His is a success story despite the circumstances: “I honestly believe that there is still a lot to do; in universities, no company training is given to technical profiles, nor is entrepreneurship encouraged; it is still too oriented towards the executing profile and little towards the strategic and planning profile that is needed to undertake ”.
Internationally, he assures us, we are far behind countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom or Finland. “And if we want to compete with them, we need a greater ability to obtain financing to grow, greater access to talent and a better tax system for investors who trust in innovation.” “Entrepreneurs are those who mark whether a country is rich or poor, and being at the forefront of technology makes you competitive … You have to support the entrepreneur by creating an ecosystem in which he or she can develop professionally and entrepreneurially” , Add.
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