Park life: Isaac Rocke, Duty Sports Officer

Isaac Rocke switched from studying  Computer Science to Sports Management.  He now works as a Duty Sports Officer in Regent’s Park, London and believes in the importance of enjoying what you do.

Tell us about the job you’re doing now.  What does it involve?

I’m the Sports Duty Officer at The Hub which is a sporting facility in Regent’s Park. I oversee all of the sporting activities which take place in the park. I’m heavily involved with the sports clubs, schools, colleges and universities who all use our facilities.  My role also involves organising other events such as birthday parties and corporate bookings and taking the occasional tour to show people the facilities we have to offer. On top of all that I also teach weekly classes for people with learning disabilities and parent and pram classes.

What is the most exciting aspect of your work?

At the moment it’s being involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games because it’s such a special and rare event! With Olympics and Paralympics events taking place in the Royal Parks all staff have been required to attend London 2012 workshops and we’ve had the opportunity to take a tour of the Olympic Park as well as seeing how our own parks – Greenwich, St James’s and Hyde were all transformed into venues for the Games. Asides from all the admin work which is required for my role, I’m also a very practical person so I enjoy taking the weekly learning disability and parent and prams classes.

Would your classmates from school be surprised at what you’re doing now?

Everyone at school knew me as a sporty person – I was a really good at football and athletics – so in some ways, not really. People might be surprised that I’ve done so well though. They may not have expected it as I wasn’t very focused on my studies when I was younger!

Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence on you and if so in what way?

My History teacher Mr Alan was a really positive influence in my life and a big motivation for me to reach my full potential. He helped me mostly in terms of academics, he always had positive words for me even when I was naughty or misbehaving which made a real difference. He always told me to take the positives out of any life situation.

What school subjects were you good at and have any been surprisingly helpful later on?

I was always good at History, Geography and PE at school. The most useful thing I learnt from my school days was my organisational skills and studying techniques. Small things like handing in homework on time at school helped me a lot with coursework and essay deadlines at university as I had already learnt these principles. These skills also helped me to organise my university modules, lectures and assignments which is essential to achieving well. It is also really relevant to what I’m doing now in terms of priorities and doing one thing at a time.

How did you decide what you wanted to do after school?

Ironically, in my first year at university I decided to do Computer Science and I hated it! After having a conversation with someone who told me the most important thing is to do something you enjoy, I realised I have always enjoyed sport and so I did a degree in Sports Management instead.

Did you take a gap year?

No I didn’t but I wish I had – it gives you time to be sure of what you want to do. I know quite a few people who rushed off to university and ended up dropping out after the first year –  I would advise taking a gap year to anyone.

What was your university experience like?

I loved it. I met so many people from all different backgrounds and cultures and was lucky enough to have really good lecturers who were supportive during my studies. It really gives you a chance to mature and find yourself, and to learn and discover different career paths. Academically I really enjoyed it as well because I thrive on having goals to reach and achieve. I love a challenge – if you set me a task I will always want to surpass it.

What has been the proudest moment of your life so far?

I feel like I’ve achieved a lot of things but gaining a 2:1 in my degree and a first on my dissertation made me feel so proud because I never thought of myself as an academic – all I ever wanted to do before was play football, so it was a great feeling to know I can achieve success in other areas.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I really want to get into sport development and use sport as a means to inspire the youth. After I graduated I travelled to America to teach sport to young people in deprived areas of New York, which was an amazing and life-changing experience. I love working with young people and I love sport so it’s the perfect combination.

What advice would you give someone still at school who wants to do what you’re doing now?

My advice would be to gain as much experience as possible within the sports sector, whether being a volunteer at a summer camp or being a part-time sports coach whilst you study. Most importantly stay committed and focused to your studies and enjoy what you do!

www.royalparks.org.uk