Josh Holdsworth - Brookes Applied, Student Spotlight

Josh umpiring a volleyball game

Josh has been a familiar face at Brookes Sport over the past 3 years, gaining valuable experience to support his career aspirations.

Recently graduating with a BSc Hons in Sport, Coaching, and Physical Education, Josh immersed himself in various opportunities alongside his studies at Oxford Brookes University.

Throughout his time at Oxford Brookes, Josh was actively involved with the Volleyball Club as a volunteer, Assistant Coach, a role he began in his first year. His dedication culminated in the Men's 1st Team winning the Tier 2A BUCS Midlands League for the 2023/24 season.

In his final year, Josh joined the Student Sport Team, where he supported various teams and clubs during their BUCS season and played a significant role in Varsity 2024.

Josh is now heading to Essex to pursue his MSc while continuing to support the volleyball setup there. We caught up with Josh to reflect on the past few years and we wish him all the best at Essex.

Josh and the Men's Volleyball team photo

What is your background in sport/physical activity and why are you interested in working in sport? 

From an early age, I was always active which led to me trying a large variety of sports, growing up while rowing I was allowed to join the coaching staff to have a different perspective on sports which led to me finding coaching more challenging, which then prompted me to continue down this path. When I eventually reached university, I was lucky enough to be allowed to try coaching and from there I found my love for the sport and coaching it.

What previous experiences have you had working or participating in sports before your time with Brookes Sport?

Before working with Brookes Sport, I was always the athlete, never the coach till my final year of rowing. However, during my 2 years before university, I worked as a leisure assistant setting up courts for people coming in booking courts and taking payments for their booking.

Some of the sports I have played are rugby, cricket, hockey, taekwondo, gymnastics and rowing.

Please briefly explain your experience with Brookes Sport and how it will help with your future career aspirations. 

Coaching Volleyball: Through coaching volleyball at Oxford Brookes, I gained my Level 1 Assistant Coach qualification and am in the process of completing my Level 2 Coaching qualification. Thanks to the department for allowing me to try my hand at coaching something new. This will help with my future career aspirations as it gave me insight into how hard coaching can be and what is needed to be done.

Brookes Student Sport: Through the 2023/24 season, I worked with the student sports team as the Intramural Sport Administrator; this role gave me experience in what administration of over 40 teams can look like and also in learning how to prioritise my workload and time management. This will serve me well going forward as these are essential skills in the coaching field.

What have you learnt and enjoyed most while working at Brookes Sport? 

Through my time with Brookes Sport, I have learnt to manage my time and how to work efficiently, this will aid me most as I move into my next coaching position so that I can be as effective as possible and assist the team and coaching staff as much as possible. In addition, I learnt the importance of clear communication as this will aid me no matter where I go next.

What skills do you think are most important to have to excel in your role at Brookes Sport?

The Brookes Sports team has shown me that they trust me, and throughout my time here, they have allowed me to grow as a person. I believe this is because of my willingness to learn and also learning from my mistakes. Because of this, I believe the most important skills are teamwork and an eagerness to learn.

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

Of course! If you want to work with people in any sport or health context and are seeking a degree in coaching, sports, health or any other sector, I wholeheartedly suggest Brookes Sport.

The group offers outstanding support during your time at the University. Your CV will look much better working here, and you'll get priceless experience working with people and groups of various ages and abilities. After graduating from Brookes, you will have highly transferable abilities to any job path you choose, whether you want to pursue coaching, leading sessions, or pursuing various other interests. I'm delighted I was able to take advantage of this before completing my degree, so please don't miss an amazing opportunity!

Josh umpiring a volleyball game

Through Brookes Applied, we are keen to support our students to help them prepare for life beyond university. If exploring opportunities in your field interests you, please reach out to Richard, our Fitness and Wellness Services Manager to arrange an informal interview ( to find out more.