Implementing the European Sports Leadership Programme: A vehicle to help development graduate workplace competencies


  • Julie A. Brunton Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom
  • Francisco José Cánovas-Alvarez Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia, Spain
  • Lourdes Meroño Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia, Spain
  • Alejandro Leiva-Arcas Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia, Spain
  • José Luis Arias-Estero Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia, Spain
  • Elena Conde Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia, Spain
  • Emanuele Isidori University of Rome – Foro Italico, Italy
  • Andrew Decelis University of Malta, Malta
  • Charalampos Samantzis University of Thessaly, Greece
  • Alper Yıldız Pamukkale University, Turkey
  • Yeliz İlgar Doğan Pamukkale University, Turkey
  • Alessandra Fazio University of Rome – Foro Italico, Italy
  • Oliver Mallia University of Malta, Malta
  • Athanasios Koustelios University of Thessaly, Greece
  • Antonio Sánchez-Pato Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia, Spain



Graduate employability, Sport and career competencies, Extra-curricular programme, Leadership programme, Intervention and evaluation, Sport pedagogy


This research was part of a large intervention study implementing the European Sports Leadership Programme (ESLP). This paper reports the outcomes of the qualitative study that employed focus groups to assess the students’ perceptions of the 15 competencies determined according to the Framework for qualifications of the European Higher Education Area, before and after the ESLP. Focus groups were carried out at each of the five universities. The ESLP involved university students working as a sports leader for 24 months with the aim to engage more students in university sport, whilst they took part in a graduate employability programme. Each university recruited five sports leaders in their second year at university, to deliver 10 new sport and recreational activities targeting the wider inactive or semi-active student population. Findings highlighted that Organization and planning, Oral and written communication, Development of planning and decision making, and Teamworking, followed closely by Emotional control and Adapting to new situations, were the most commonly reported competencies. They affirmed that this programme had helped to develop these competencies. Use of information, communication and technology, Communication in a foreign language, Research and Emotional control were the most common competencies that students stated they needed to improve further. This research found that implementing the ESLP helped to develop students’ perceptions of their workplace and career competencies. The ESLP is therefore, recommended as one approach to helping universities to develop student’s workplace and career competencies.


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How to Cite

Brunton, J. A., Cánovas-Alvarez, F. J., Meroño, L., Leiva-Arcas, A., Arias-Estero, J. L., Conde, E., Isidori, E., Decelis, A., Samantzis, C., Yıldız, A., Doğan, Y. İlgar, Fazio, A., Mallia, O., Koustelios, A., & Sánchez-Pato, A. (2022). Implementing the European Sports Leadership Programme: A vehicle to help development graduate workplace competencies. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 17(3), 553–566.