Elliott Overnell - Student Staff Spotlight

Elliot delivering a Circuits class

Over the past two years, Elliott has picked up valuable experience as a student member of our Brookes Sport staff.

What began in September 2022 as a sports steward role quickly transitioned into Elliott becoming a cover duty manager and fitness instructor at Headington Centre of Sport.

While balancing his undergraduate studies in Quantity Surveying & Commercial Management and his intense training commitments with Brookes Rowing, Elliott has been a brilliant asset to the Brookes Sport team and has taken advantage of opportunities to help set him up for his future career.

We caught up with Elliott just before he embarks on his placement year, to find out more about his time with us so far. We look forward to welcoming him back in September 2025! 

Elliot demonstrating squatting with a power bag in a circuits class

What is your background in sport/physical activity and why were you interested in working for Brookes Sport? 

I have been an extremely sporty individual, from a young age I have been part of many sports teams and clubs through school and externally completing and socially in sports including; tennis, running, football and now elite rowing, here at Oxford Brookes. At the age of 16 I entered in the industry and fell in love over the years, this motivated me to continue my career while away at university alongside the complex training program that Brookes Rowing requires. 

Prior to your experience with Brookes Sport, did you have any previous experiences working in sport?

Prior to joining the team at Brookes Sport, I had experience within the industry. In July 2019 gaining my NPLQ Qualification allowed me access into the industry starting as a lifeguard. In 2021 I gained my Level 2 Coaching Qualification and starting me to expand my experience and start coaching, later that year I gained my indoor cycle qualification and started taking classes this is where I fell in love with the industry with the combination of these qualifications allowed me to take a wide range of classes which I thoroughly enjoyed, in my previous centre. 

Can you explain a little bit about the experience you have had with Brookes Sport and how you think it will help with your future career aspirations? 

My time here at Brookes Sport has been utterly amazing, from the very first day. The whole team has been so welcoming and understanding of having a part - time role alongside university life. I knew when I moved to university that I would like to continue my career within the sport industry, and Brookes Sport has by far excelled my career in the industry. 

Starting in my first semester in a new city was a daunting experience but when I reached out to a couple of local gyms, Richard was the first to get back to me welcoming me in for an interview, from that day I have never looked back. 

Originally, I started as a sports steward, working alongside the evening duty manager, as I was a full-time student and training full time, the team were very understanding allowing flexibility in shifts, coming to the end of my first year, my NPLQ was about to expire the team allowed me to renew my qualification without any trouble allowing me to keep this qualification under my belt. Later in the summer Richard offered me the chance to gain a Level 2 Gym Instruction qualification funded by the University allowing me to upskill myself, from here I started to pick up 1 class a week allowing me to continue with uni work, and my rowing training program. 

After a year within the team, I was proudly given a promotion to a cover duty manager, which again was perfect for me to work alongside other commitments. With my First Aid Qualification about to expire the team ensured that this was renewed allowing me to keep this qualification in date. Again, the team were all very understanding with my availability to pick up shifts. 

Throughout my time as part of the Brookes sport, every individual within the team has been there to support me and develop my skills to allow me to be where I am now, with life skills that will for sure continue with me throughout my career.

Were you supported to complete any qualifications during your time with Brookes Sport? 

Yes, I was offered the opportunity to complete my Level 2 in Gym Instructing over the summer of 2023, fully funded by Brookes Sport. This qualification is a skill that I use daily within the centre either this being in a class of 40 or in the gym. While also working at Brookes Sport the team have allowed me to keep my up to date training required to upkeep my NPLQ qualification, again allowing me to develop and learn new practices in customer care in an ever changing environment.

During your time with Brookes Sport, what have you learnt most? 

Such a wide range of skills that I will take with me into my future career and general day-to-day life. To name a few, the skills of confidence no matter the situation whether this be around the centre or in a class of 40 people. How to communicate with a wide range of people from colleagues to members. The main skill that I have learnt from my time is the people management skills taught to me through my role as a Duty Manager. This is a skill that will massively support me in my future career, whether that is in the leisure industry or not, the skills I've learnt are extremely transferable, and I am currently going out on placement with these skills under my belt. 

What skills are most important to have to excel in the role you did at Brookes Sport?

The willingness to learn is massive, if you start day one here the team will support you to strengthen your skills across the board to allow you to exceed within the team, no matter where you start. The team here at Brookes Sport have put trust in me and allowed me to hugely develop as an individual throughout my time here.

Would you recommend your experience to other Oxford Brookes students looking to have a career in sport? 

100% without a doubt. I would strongly recommend anyone who is on any degree, from any background the team here will support you through your whole time at university. Working at Brookes Sport will massively boost your CV for future career aspirations, but most importantly the experience working with a range of individuals and groups of all ages. These skills are extremely transferable into any career you may progress into when leaving Brookes.

Elliot leading a warm up lunge

Through Brookes Applied, we are keen to support our students to help them prepare for life beyond university. If working in our fitness team alongside your studies interests you, please reach out to Richard, our Fitness and Wellness Services Manager to arrange an informal interview (rormiston-rees@brookes.ac.uk).