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Celena Dell

Celena DellSenior Lecturer in Sports Massage and Injury, University of Derby; Sports Therapist, Chelsea Football Club's Youth Academy

BSc Sports Healthcare, 2004 

What made you choose Middlesex University and attracted you to your course?

Initially I had studied for an HND elsewhere and I had a bad experience. I was going to give up on higher education but I saw that the Middlesex University course offered the opportunity to top up my HND which was a real benefit and appealed to me. I really liked the environment. The classes were quite small and there was a lot of support offered by the tutors.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

The variety of different modules on offer. There were some core modules but then you could pick and choose other modules and tailor the course to meet your areas of interest and career aspirations. I really liked the pharmacology module so I chose two modules in this area.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

I would say the support and help from members of staff even after you graduate. I am still in touch with one of my tutors who has since become the programme leader. I think also the course because I got to do so much hands-on stuff as well.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

You have to make sure the course is right for you. Middlesex offers so much opportunity but you really do need to make sure you make the right course choice.

Additionally, you need to go and spend time in the university environment as you will be spending a lot of time there.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

The variety of units I studied helped me to further my career. I was already working in football but my degree enabled me to progress from amateur to professional football. It also enabled me to progress to a masters degree and gave me insight into higher education which is the sector I lecture in now.

Why did you choose the career you studied for?

I always had an interest in sport. I was a swimmer and got a lot of injuries so became interested in sports rehabilitation and wanted to pursue a career in this area which is what I ended up doing.

What are the pros and cons of working within your professional field?

The pros of working in my profession are the variety of people that I meet and the knowledge I gain from them. The cons are that you have to work long hours and plans change at the last minute when you work in sport.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

I was already working in amateur football but through networking and contacts I gained work experience and paid employment at professional academy level. My degree enabled me to demonstrate I had developed my capabilities.

Given that my experience while studying for my HND wasn't great, if I hadn't had such a good experience at Middlesex and realised that I was actually suited to academia, I also wouldn't have continued with higher education and become a lecturer in my field. My degree university experience was the first step towards my career in education.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

Going to university and gaining my degree. I am severely dyslexic so this was a real achievement.

What does the future hold for you?

I'm currently a Sports Rehabilitation Lecturer at Derby University but I still work part-time in professional football. Next year I will finish my PhD.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Gain as much experience as you can in a variety of areas that are linked with your chosen career path. You also need to develop your personal attributes so these are well suited to a career in that area. In sports rehabilitation, the academic knowledge is important but you also need to be able to communicate and interact with people well. Word of mouth referrals are very important so the relationships you develop with clients are important.

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