Isaac Blackbourn

FdSc Sports Coaching

Rugby enthusiast Isaac Blackbourn always knew he wanted to coach on some level; but when he decided to study the FdSc Sports Coaching course at Penwith College, he never imaged he would end up gaining an internship with Cornwall's own professional rugby team, the Cornish Pirates. Describing this as "one of the best outcomes of the course", he is now looking forward to starting his second year while continuing to work as an intern for the club.

After studying an Extended Diploma in Sport & Exercise Science at Penwith College, Isaac decided to progress onto university level study to enhance his career prospects. When choosing where to study, Isaac found the considered timetables and one to one support available at the College a big selling point. With an already busy schedule - playing rugby for Pirates Amateur RFC and working part-time in his hometown of Penzance - Isaac knew that he needed to study somewhere that offered him flexibility.

Being able to go and speak to lecturers whenever I need to has enabled my success.


"I have so much going on, especially now that I work with the Cornish Pirates too, but if I ever need any last minute help, my lecturer's door is always open."

Encouraging students to use the work experience element of the course to develop their knowledge of a career that they hope to pursue, Isaac's lecturer used his strong connections with the Cornish Pirates to help Isaac to secure a work placement with the club.

Impressed by the hard work and enthusiasm that Isaac displayed during his placement, the Cornish Pirates offered him a year's unpaid internship. During this time, Isaac developed key coaching skills by reviewing and analysing games for the team's coaches. Towards the end of the first year of his internship, he was able to use these skills to contribute to the club's performance in the annual British and Irish Cup competition. Facing a strong selection of second-tier teams from Britain and Ireland, Isaac described this as a "challenging, but excellent experience". It also led to the club inviting him back for a second year's paid internship as part of the analysis team. 

Complimenting his busy schedule, Isaac's condensed timetable has enabled him to go from strength to strength with the club. He said: "The PIrates play games on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and I only have to be in College on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which has really helped to support my placement."

Happy with his decision to stay in Cornwall to study for his degree, Isaac enjoys the laid back atmosphere of the College and makes full use of the College's facilities. 

Everything we need is right here on campus. We have some great computer suites, access to two gyms and the Astroturf. Plus there was no need to move away to study when there are such great opportunities available right here on my doorstep.