On Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th September, England Netball hosted their annual conference for fifty student University Netball Officers (UNOs), who have been recruited as volunteers across the country to deliver social netball sessions within their universities.
The programme is now in its fourth year and has increased from just ten universities to fifty within that time.
As a direct result of deploying the students, we have already seen six UNO’s graduate and gain job offers with England Netball as local delivery officers and coaches; this is largely down to the transferable skills they have learnt during their time in the role.
This year’s event was held at the Village Hotel in Walsall, and was supported by three Netball Development Officers from England Netball and a Regional Coordinator, all of whom were UNOs at their respective universities before graduating.
The UNOs were trained up on our delivery programmes, communications and marketing of sessions, as well as information on how best to utilise the local netball network.
In addition, we shared our annual student campaign, #NetballNeverStops, which is designed to encourage more new students into netball once they head to university.
The students also took to the courts at the University of Wolverhampton to try their hand at Walking Netball, Inclusive Netball and Netball Now.
One UNO fed back, “Thank you for the opportunity of this training. I thoroughly enjoyed the past two days and have learned so much that I am excited to put into practise!” (Kitty, St Mary’s UNO)
Most importantly, we sent students away enthused and empowered ready to establish social netball back at their universities.
They will be able to select their own sessions to best fit the needs of students at their universities, which can range from Netball Now, Back to Netball, Intramural Leagues, Club extension and one off fun festivals.
All of this will ultimately lead to an increase in participation, through a programme which has seen over 13,500 participants within the last three years alone.