Sam Kemp

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Sports & Leisure
Job title: Competition Product Manager
Subject of study: Exercise and Sport Sciences
Year of graduation: 2013
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name


What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Initially I worked for Devon County Council in their Child Protection & Safeguarding team alongside volunteering for work experience at the Devon FA. I then moved into sports development and started a role with England Netball as the South West regional coordinator, support clubs, coaches and players to drive participation across the SW region. Following that I began a role at the LTA in the South West Regional Team. Through covid I picked up new responsibilities with a national focus, this led to a promotion into the national team. Now, as Competition Product Manager for the LTA I am responsible for the management of multiple high-profile national competition products. I manage LTA Padel competitions nationally, work with the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Vodafone to deliver Play Your Way to Wimbledon, a historic and prestigious grassroots tennis competition delivered by over 800 venues nationwide and was the Tournament Director for the first international padel competition in Great Britain, FIP Rise London Padel Open. I also manage the LTA’s key junior recreational competition product, LTA Youth Team Challenge, engaging with over 850 venues to deliver team competition to more than 70,000 junior players.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I love sport and I always wanted to work in sport so following my degree moving into sports development felt like the natural path for me to continue to work within my passion. I enjoy the strategic development side of my role. Reviewing, creating and developing products and programmes to grow participation and provide a great experience for others is very rewarding.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was part of the football society for a small period of time but I was playing semi-professional football outside of university so this limited how much I could get involved.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The biggest highlight for me was the completion of my dissertation. My tutor, Rosie Davis, was exceptionally knowledgeable and supportive. I completed the testing phase with a fellow student and it was great being able to enjoy researching and testing a topic we were passionate about knowing we had such fantastic support behind us.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The expertise of each of the lecturers was amazing. Using real-life data and anaylsis to teach key subject areas. How ‘hands on’ a lot of the teaching content was, which really gave you the best platform to further your understanding of a topic.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The university, particular the sport and exercise science department, really stood out as a leader within the sector. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity of getting the best education and Exeter just stood out as the best option.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Communication – the ability to communicate effectively, through written word and verbally, has been vitally important for my career and a skill that was harnessed and practice while at university. Critical analysis – having the ability to research, collect and analyse information and then use that analysis to create practical, implementable actions has been invaluable in my work as a product manager.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

There are endless opportunities (paid and unpaid) to gain valuable experience in sports development. Organisations such as England Netball and the LTA are always looking for knowledgeable and hard working individuals that have a passion for sports development so put yourself forward and good things will happen. Look outside of ‘your sport’. Growing up, and still, I have always loved football but I have been able to enjoy a career and make a positive impact in sports that I may not have thought would be relevant to me in the past.

What are your plans for the future?

I have recently completed a management development programme at the LTA and I am now moving onto complete a Diploma in Leadership and Management. I hope to use this course to further my understanding of leadership and support me to take the next step in my career. I would like to stay within the sports sector, moving into further leadership and executive positions to make as much positive impact in sports development as I can.


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