IDC – Durham University

DurhamSport981 is a leading strength and conditioning coaching and training provider delivering world class sports performance expertise to elite level athletes and professional sports clubs across the UK.

The company’s reputation for excellence and long line of success in the world of elite sports performance and coaching has led to the development of a dedicated education programme/offering.

This has enabled Sport981 to provide a pathway for motivated individuals that combines both long term work placements in the highly competitive world of professional sport with industry leading, strength and conditioning qualifications.

Are you thinking about starting a career in strength and conditioning?

Learn and develop career based skills as a professional strength and conditioning coach through a one year Instructor Development Course (IDC) based at Durham University – named as Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2015

This  is  a  fantastic  opportunity  for  the  successful  candidates  to;

  • Shadow and learn from leading UK strength and conditioning professionals.
  • Experience and learn from back room staff discussions and interdisciplinary planning.
  • Develop technical and practical conditioning skills through a mixture of theoretical and practical coaching environments.
  • Gain experience with 21 university performance squads – a programme that has seen Durham University end the 2011/12/13/14 academic year ranked second in the British University Sport league table.
  • Get hands on experience under expert guidance with the professional playing squad at Hartlepool United.
  • Develop conditioning techniques with the professional British Basketball League, Durham Wildcats.
  • Gain experience with the MCC University Cricket Centre of Excellence and GBR Rowing High Performance Centre.
  • Learn and become qualified with the highest regarded qualifications in the health and fitness and strength and conditioning industry.
  • Enhance your coaching and employability.

To accelerate learning, development and application of key conditioning skills and methodology the successful candidates will be exposed to a full package of professional development which include:           

Tutor team

Gareth Hall – Sport981 Director – Tutor Team Lead

Chris Wooley – Sport981 Tutor -GB Olympic Team, – Bobsleigh Sports Science and Medicine Lead,

Dave Sawyer – Sport981 Tutor – GB Olympic Team – Weightlifting

Ed Parker – Sport981 Tutor -S&C lead – LTA/Mytennis High Performance Centre

Jared Deacon – Sport981 Tutor -Elite Development S&C -Edinburgh Rugby

Dr Kate Hays – Sport981 Tutor -Sport Psychology, GB Olympic Team – British Diving

Nick Ward – Sport981 Tutor -National S&C Lead – England Golf

Tim Stevenson – Sport981 Tutor -GB Paralympic Team – Track and Swimming


Each student will have the opportunity to gain a close working relationship with the lead coach as group numbers are kept small. Onsite personalised mentoring will take place on a weekly basis and at the culmination of each term each student will receive a feedback session detailing successes and areas for on-going development as part of the wider development process.

30 advanced Sport981 workshops

Beginning where the knowledge and skills of the certifications end, these advanced workshops are firmly established as the ‘core’ component within the overall development of our aspiring coaches. A staggering 30 two hour workshops have been developed specifically to target key attributes and skills which we believe are essential in the pursuit of becoming a well-rounded and successful strength and conditioning coach. Each small group workshop has been strategically placed within a syllabus so that they run in line with certification content to complement learning as a progressive way to continue building on your prior acquired knowledge. Topics and skills development in the latest methodologies associated with strength, speed, endurance, and movement are covered in depth in addition to a host of additional specialist subjects such as LTAD, prehab and late stage rehab applications.

National Academy of Sports Medicine certificates;

Certified personal trainer (NASM CPT)
Performance enhancement specialist (NASM PES)
Corrective exercise specialist (NASM CES)

Advanced weekend workshops 

Run several times throughout the year, these two day workshops are packed with content to enhance your competency as a coach to get performance results that actually improve athletic ability. Each weekend is run by a senior Sport981 instructor that has years if not decades of performance enhancement coaching under their belt. The senior instructors will be active in the industry and will work with Olympic and professional athletes and have a speciality in a particular area of strength and conditioning with which they will share with you. In addition to traditional topics, these workshops will also showcase interdisciplinary approaches such as Olympic team GB sports psychologist Dr Kate Hays on understanding coaching behaviour and how to get the most out of your athletes.

Accreditation – NSCA – UKSCA – ASCA

With an influx of international students learning with us and aspirations of UK coaches to work overseas, it is important that you choose to work towards the conditioning body that best represents your needs as a coach and is recognised in your chosen place of work. The coaching competency standards and development programme entwined with the yearlong course will support you toward the final accrediting body exam of your choice.

Location details

Your conditioning and majority of workshops will be held onsite at The Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle, Stockton Road, Durham, DH1 3SE

Occasional attendance for workshops may be required at Queen’s Campus, Stockton, University Boulevard, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6BH.

Your  travelcost  and  accommodation  if  required  is  not  covered  in  the  course  costs  and  will  be  self-funded.


The programme is split into four phases.

Pre-term development/education days: Dates for education weekends and additional hands on preseason experience to be confirmed for the month of September.

Term One: Monday 12th October – Wednesday 18th December

Term Two: Monday 18th January – Friday 18th March

Term Three: Monday 25th April – Friday 24th June

Advanced Term Four: Monday 27th June – Wednesday 31st August

Course content is delivered through an average of four to six hours of contact time per week, per term. This may be a mixture of early morning and afternoon conditioning sessions and weekend workshops.

To enhance learning and maximise the application of course text it is assumed all candidates will allocate additional time to distance learning/self-study periods.

Education and support fees

Fees can be paid, in full, or in manageable instalments throughout the course duration. Course fees include all workshops, course materials, mentoring, assessments and exams.

Instalment option:

  • Deposit – Fri 7th Aug – £2000
  • Instalment 1 – Thurs 26th Nov – £1100
  • Instalment 2 – Thurs 25th Feb – £800
  • Instalment 3 – Thurs 26th May- £500

(Terms and conditions apply)

Total education fees £4400

Important information

Course enrolment date: Friday 7th August

Term workshops, mentoring and official practical experience starts: Monday 12th October

(Please see ‘hours’ for terms dates and pre term education days)

Enrolment onto the instructor development Course would assume all coaching experience related activities are voluntary and non-paid. They are provided as an opportunity to apply guided theoretical knowledge to live environments, build coaching skills and gain feedback from your course mentors.

The successful candidates will be expected to complete a Criminal Records Bureau check.

Applications for the placement with Durham University are now open.

To be considered for the role please email an up to date CV with a covering letter describing your suitability to

This placement with Durham University is just one of many work placement opportunities in professional sports currently available including placements with Harlequin FC and Nottingham Trent University