Julian Wills

Health, Wellbeing and Sport Project Lead at Truro and Penwith College

Three words you would use to describe yourself:

Enthusiastic, committed and loyal.

JULIAN WILLS - HEALTH, WELLBEING AND SPORT PROJECT LEAD AT TRURO AND PENWITH COLLEGE

JULIAN WILLS - HEALTH, WELLBEING AND SPORT PROJECT LEAD AT TRURO AND PENWITH COLLEGE

Health, Wellbeing and Sport: Describe your subject area in one sentence

We provide students and staff with the opportunity to participate in life-changing physical activities while supporting their mental and physical wellbeing.

What does your role at the College involve?

I manage the HWS team, working to provide many options for students and staff to get involved in physical activity in a welcoming and supportive environment. Aiming to show students the value of being physically active, I try to organise subject-specific sessions that students can enjoy. Optional gym sessions and referral sessions for staff and students are also available where we use physical activity as a tool to improve mental and physical wellbeing. In addition to my Health, Wellbeing and Sport role, I am also part of the College's Safeguarding team and act as a Sustainability Champion.

How did you start working at the College?

Working in the leisure industry for 30 years has given me a vast range of experiences in lifeguarding, sports coaching, leisure centre management, sports development and triathlon management. Moving away from my busy lifestyle as a British Paratriathlon manager, I decided to spend more time with my family while still changing lives. Having completed a Certificate in Education at the College, I knew a lot about the College's staff and facilities and even then it was, in my opinion, the best college in the South West, so I was excited to start working here.

What do you like the most about your job?

I absolutely love providing life-changing experiences whilst being able to do so much physical exercise every day. Over the years, I have seen referral students grow in confidence so much that they have gone on to study at university level, which is something they wouldn't have dreamt of doing prior to attending our sessions. I've also seen hundreds of students, who would not consider themselves anywhere near physically active, who have attended their subject allocated sessions and, as a result, gained the confidence to come along to optional sessions. Seeing this kind of personal development is fantastic!

Do you participate in any projects outside of work?

Outside of work, I like to keep active and I am currently coaching a number of Great Britain Triathletes, ultra marathon runners and fell runners. Interest in the sport originally stems from previous job roles as the South West regional manager for British Triathlon and then the British Paratriathlon Manager. In that role, I successfully created a plan for Paratriathlon to be included into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games before working for The Olympic Legacy organisation 'Sported' where I used my knowledge of sport to tackle a variety of social problems and to transform the lives of young people.

What's your proudest accomplishment to date?

A very proud moment in my career was when I became a British Paratriathlon Manager. Before me, the position didn't exist, and it was my job to get the triathlon into the Paralympics, so that's what I did: I got it entered into the Rio games. Working with the International Paralympic Committee, I wrote the first classification systems, first rulebook and first coaching manual for disabled triathletes anywhere in the world so my work was global, which was great. It took almost four years to get it through the system, but all of the hard work paid off as it meant that triathletes with disabilities would finally be recognised for their hard work and skill.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My whole week is devoted to sport; whilst I spend my working hours encouraging students and staff to take part in physical activity, I use my spare time to train for and compete in ultra marathons, with many hours spent on Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and Exmoor. I am the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Plymouth Performance Cimbing Squad, where both my children compete at national level. 

What do you like most about living in Cornwall?

The people and the quality of life that it offers: living in such a scenic part of the country means that everyone can find pleasure in being active, whether you're up on the moors or out in the sea.