Dyslexia didn’t stop me succeeding at university and developing a coaching career

Kristoff Young, Rugby graduate

"I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in primary school," said Kristoff Young, from Chepstow.

"One of my teachers told me ‘do not let your difficulty hinder your ambition to get through education and on to university’ and these words stuck with me and helped me get to where I am today.

"When I got to USW, the first thing I did was to access the support available. This included one-to-one study skills support, extra time with exams and assignments, and equipment such as a laptop, scanner and specialist software through the Disabled Students Allowance. All this made it much easier for me to succeed in my studies.

Rugby coaching course played to my strengths

"The rugby coaching course was very active and practical in nature, which made the three years very fun and enjoyable, but also played to my strengths. My Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) means I learn best when I am carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture.

"From day one, I got to learn from high-level coaches involved in rugby union, both inside the university and within the industry. This also taught me how to communicate in a professional manner with stakeholders, clients and customers.

Developed my confidence

"In my final year I got the opportunity to plan, organise and run an event for the WRU’s Women’s Regional Programme. The event was a huge success - this was a really proud moment for me and a huge confidence boost. Gaining my Level 1 and 2 Rugby Union Coaching qualifications was another highlight.

"Perhaps the best experience was graduating from my rugby course with first-class honours.

"It doesn’t matter if you have dyslexia – all you need is passion, support and to work hard.

Working in sport

"I am now a sport coach with Sport Caerphilly. The amount of coaching experience I gained on the course, on modules and through placements, definitely helped me get the job.

"Another advantage of my rugby coaching degree is that it gave me a good knowledge of related areas such as strength and conditioning, maturational growth and nutrition, and fundamental skills in physical education – knowledge which can be applied to all sports, not just rugby.

"Completing the rugby course has given me so much passion for a career in sport, but also the knowledge that I can succeed.

"It’s given me the confidence to enrol on the Masters in Sports Coaching and Performance and achieve even more in the next few years."

Picture: Kristoff refereeing The Welsh Premier League Men's final between Valley Cougars and Torfaen Tigers