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About Durham University

Universities Week

As a university which prides itself on allowing students to combine an excellent education with outstanding opportunities in music, arts, volunteering and sport, Durham University is proud to support Universities Week 2012.

This year's Universities Week focuses on the contribution the higher education sector makes to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and sport in general. 

Through our unique collegiate system and wide-ranging opportunities in not only sport but also in music, the arts and volunteering, Durham students gain vital skills including in leadership and motivation, team work, and organisation, which equips them to achieve in life and succeed in whatever they choose to do after graduation. 

It is no surprise therefore that Durham University is ranked 15th in the world for the employability of its students by blue-chip companies world wide. Durham punches well above its weight when it comes to the nurturing of talent in sport, leadership and innovation.

In sport, Will Carling, Nasser Hussain, Jonathan Edwards and Andrew Strauss are just some examples of this.  Durham can also count numerous leaders and innovators amongst its alumni such as the former head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, founder of Traidcraft, Richard Adams, and Tim Smit, the driving force behind the Eden Project.

Participation in sport at Durham therefore is about much more than being active and healthy.  It focuses on three core strands: performance and leadership, participation, and community sport development.  

Durham offers professional coaching support in 11 sports including cricket, fencing, rowing and rugby, and part time coaches in a further 15 sports. The difference that a professional structure can make to the development of student athletes should not be underestimated. Durham is an ARA Rowing Performance Centre, it has First Class County Cricket status, British Fencing Centre status, competes in the England Hockey National League and boasts a host of rowers, fencers and lacrosse players who compete at an international level on an annual basis. 

New facilities, which were opened in February, include a new £1m powered indoor rowing tank, one of only three in the UK and the only world-class standard fencing specific facility in the country with four competition and four practice dedicated fencing pistes and wheelchair fencing frames.

On average, the team of coaches and support staff, help to develop over 25 student athletes, across more than 15 sports, who compete at international level each academic year. Current examples of students who are competing at senior international level include Kira Roberts (Fencing), Holly Colvin (Cricket) and Sandra Hyslop (Canoeing).

One of the key attractions of Durham University is the collegiate structure, and this is very much the case when it comes to sport. Durham's College Sport Programme is larger than any other intra-mural competition offered in Britain and there is an opportunity for male and female students to compete in 15 sports, across 380 different teams, on a weekly basis.  In fact, 92 per cent of students at Durham University participate in sport, which is believed to be the highest participation rate in the UK at all levels.

The vast majority of the organisation for College Sport is student-led and it is estimated that in a programme that includes over 6,000 students, approximately 1,000 are exposed to organisational and management experiences at some stage throughout their time at Durham.

The programme also allows students to gain significant coaching and officiating experience and over 150 students are funded through National Governing Body courses and then found suitable placements upon completion on an annual basis. Add to this the experiences gained by University athletes who help to organise and lead university clubs and it is clear that the Durham programme prepares students not only to win on the court, on the water or on the field, but to succeed in their chosen career. 

Some shining examples of this are alumni like Gabby Logan, now a regular presenter and sports reporter for the BBC, and Paul Hawkins, co-developer of Hawk-Eye - the system widely used in particularly cricket and tennis to track the trajectory of the ball.

The third strand of the Team Durham programme focuses on our role in the local community, as well as more widely in the region and internationally. The University Sport programme now engages with all 47 local Durham schools and all of the city's major clubs.

Our involvement is increasingly rewarding; over 200 students volunteer to coach within schools on an annual basis, whilst approximately 2,000 children are presented with the opportunity to use the University's sporting facilities each year. However, it is perhaps the role that these partnerships play beyond sport that is most important, with the aspirations of children increasing as a direct result of exposure to the University and regular contact with current university students.  

Team Durham has also established an outstanding reputation with regard to broader outreach work. Sport can impact positively upon well-being and individual development in many different ways and we now have sport programmes working with people going through drug rehabilitation, disengaged adolescent young girls, vulnerable women, homeless people, looked after children and youth offenders. A total of over 4,000 people of various ages now engage annually in multi-skill sport programmes that are developed in consultation with charities, schools and other bodies.  They are delivered, with the help of students, with the aim of facilitating the development of a series of generic skills that serve to benefit the people involved in their normal everyday life. 

In addition to local community outreach in sport, Durham students have been working to make a positive impact on communities across the world, including in Zambia.  Through The Zambia Project, set up in 2005 as a collaboration between UK Sport and a selection of other UK universities, groups of students have been spending their summer weeks working with local volunteers, organising and delivering school PE lessons, community sports programmes and health awareness workshops within the deprived areas of Lusaka's compounds.

Sport at Durham is so much more than scoring a run, a try or a goal; it is about exceptional people doing exceptional things, both at grassroots level and on the global stage.  

The vast majority of the organisation for College Sport is student-led and it is estimated that in a programme that includes over 6,000 students, approximately 1,000 are exposed to organisational and management experiences at some stage throughout their time at Durham.

The programme also allows students to gain significant coaching and officiating experience and over 150 students are funded through National Governing Body courses and then found suitable placements upon completion on an annual basis. Add to this the experiences gained by University athletes who help to organise and lead university clubs and it is clear that the Durham programme prepares students not only to win on the court, on the water or on the field, but to succeed in their chosen career. 

Some shining examples of this are alumni like Gabby Logan, now a regular presenter and sports reporter for the BBC, and Paul Hawkins, co-developer of Hawk-Eye - the system widely used in particularly cricket and tennis to track the trajectory of the ball.

The third strand of the Team Durham programme focuses on our role in the local community, as well as more widely in the region and internationally. The University Sport programme now engages with all 47 local Durham schools and all of the city's major clubs.

Our involvement is increasingly rewarding; over 200 students volunteer to coach within schools on an annual basis, whilst approximately 2,000 children are presented with the opportunity to use the University's sporting facilities each year. However, it is perhaps the role that these partnerships play beyond sport that is most important, with the aspirations of children increasing as a direct result of exposure to the University and regular contact with current university students.  

Team Durham has also established an outstanding reputation with regard to broader outreach work. Sport can impact positively upon well-being and individual development in many different ways and we now have sport programmes working with people going through drug rehabilitation, disengaged adolescent young girls, vulnerable women, homeless people, looked after children and youth offenders. A total of over 4,000 people of various ages now engage annually in multi-skill sport programmes that are developed in consultation with charities, schools and other bodies.  They are delivered, with the help of students, with the aim of facilitating the development of a series of generic skills that serve to benefit the people involved in their normal everyday life. 

In addition to local community outreach in sport, Durham students have been working to make a positive impact on communities across the world, including in Zambia.  Through The Zambia Project, set up in 2005 as a collaboration between UK Sport and a selection of other UK universities, groups of students have been spending their summer weeks working with local volunteers, organising and delivering school PE lessons, community sports programmes and health awareness workshops within the deprived areas of Lusaka's compounds.

Sport at Durham is so much more than scoring a run, a try or a goal; it is about exceptional people doing exceptional things, both at grassroots level and on the global stage.