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Crossfit Gym owner gives back to University who helped him retrain for new career

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A Crossfit gym owner in Carmarthen shows his gratitude to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David by taking on current students from the Sport and Exercise Science course to gain vocational experience working with him.

Lawrence Edwards, a Sport and Exercise Science graduate, came to study at UWTSD a few years ago as a mature student.

 “After many years of working doing different jobs, I kind of always had a passion for training, for the gym, and I wanted to start again. When I was 25, my wife had just finished Uni, and she mentioned that it might be a good idea if I go back and start again and so something that I have a passion for.” Lawrence said

Lawrence Edwards

In the past, having not had a good education experience in school, Lawrence was worried that he didn’t have enough qualifications. He only had 1 GCSE, and was unsure if he would be able to get a place at an University. He decided to make some enquiries at UWTSD, and after his interview, he found out he’d be able to get a place as a mature student as long as it was a subject that he was interested in, and had some relevant experience in.

He found his passion for sports science and excelled in the degree. Lawrence graduated with a first, and then went on to study an MSc in Strength and Conditioning at Cardiff Met University.

According to Lawrence “For me, UWTSD taught me how to teach myself. University isn’t about having everything given to you by the lecturers, but more of being taught how to do your own research, and how to put those methods of good learning to use after. It helped me do the research I needed to do better at the things I was interested in… I never wanted to miss a lecture. It basically gave me the food I was hungry for.”

After gaining experiences from excellent internships with Sport Wales, he’s recently set up his own Crossfit gym, ‘Crossfit Carmarthen’ in Carmarthen, which he runs with his wife. As well as running the Crossfit section of the gym, Lawrence is trying to help out local clubs and organisations to get kids more active. He runs sessions for Carmarthen Athletic rugby U13’s team, and also does some crossfit kids classes.

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Recently Lawrence has taken on one of UWTSD’s current first year Sport and Exercise Science students to help him deliver some of the kids classes through the connection of lecturer Geraint Forster.

Geraint Forster, Programme manager of the Sports Science and Exercise degree said: “ The main thing that we try to do with our course is to embed as much vocational experience and qualifications in with the modules. All our students in their first year get their gym instructor and personal training awards so they can start working right from the first year and get that experience. We try and give an opportunity to get experience working with a different range of clients, which means when students graduate with us, they’re already working rather than graduating and having to start working afterwards.”

“I had the option to be involved in different things outside my course through my university degree, and I found it so beneficial to further my learning. Having experiences is the only way you’re going to improve, so if I can give other students some time to have experience working, then great.” Lawrence added.

Amber Manning, a first year student studying Sport and Exercise Science has had the opportunity to work with Lawrence at the gym and she’s very grateful for the opportunity. “Through the University and Crossfit Carmarthen, I’ve been able to get some vocational experience, working with different age groups learning how to coach kids classes, fitness classes, as well as some strength and conditioning with the local rugby team. It’s really built my confidence in teaching a variety of age groups. It’s been amazing, I didn’t expect to do this in my first year, so I’m loving life!”

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Lawrence is also very grateful to the University for helping him with other things too such as writing and grammar skills. He admits that he struggled with these when he started his degree, but by the third year he found it so much easier to write essays and conduct literature reviews.

For Lawrence: “It’s the best thing I ever did, going back to Uni. I was unhappy going to that job that I was going to and having to do that job purely to pay bills. Going back and starting all over again means that I wake up every day doing the job I love. This job allows me to make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s a lot easier than you think provided you have the help you need, and I had that help at the Uni.”

(All images: UWTSD)


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