James Martin

A year into an economics degree at university, James Martin decided his heart wasn’t in it. “I came to the realisation that while I knew I could be successful in commerce, I didn’t find it enjoyable,” he says. “I needed to do something that I was passionate about.”

Rugby and sport had always been a big part of James’ life from a young age, so that’s where he decided look for opportunities. “After doing plenty of research into what my options were, I chose to study at Ara and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

James enrolled for the Bachelor of Applied Science, specialising in sport and exercise science. “The main thing that attracted me to Ara was the placement opportunities the degree offered and the chance to work with industry professionals.”

During his studies, James was thrilled to land a two-year placement as a performance analyst intern with the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby. He says the experience was second-to-none. “I learned more than I ever could in a classroom while working alongside world-class coaches, athletes and support staff.” At Canterbury Rugby James learned the roles and responsibilities of an analyst and was involved in live analysis, match reviewing, filming and coding of training, and previewing and analyzing opposition teams.

After he completed his degree in 2015, and as a direct result of his placement, James was offered a full-time position as an assistant performance analyst with Canterbury Rugby. That then led to the role of head performance analyst for the Kobe Steelers in Japan. “I now have the amazing opportunity of travelling and working overseas while doing something I’m passionate about.”

James is clearly reaping the rewards of pursuing something he loves and he encourages others to do the same. “If I could give any advice to future students it would be to follow your passion and make the most of the opportunities that arise. The learning environment and support from the tutors at Ara sets you up for success, but it’s up to you to take advantage of it.”