Profile picture of Tom Jacques.

Academy and Scholarship Nutritionist for Leeds Rhinos Rugby League and first-team Nutritionist for Leeds Rhinos Netball

Having met some of the students on an open day, they convinced me that this was the institution that I could thrive at.

Why I chose to study at Leeds Trinity

My journey might be a little different to others that studied at Leeds Trinity. After leaving school, I went on to study an apprenticeship. But I’d always had the passion deep down to be a sports nutritionist and began to invest more time in to finding out more about this. Leeds Trinity offered the Sports Nutrition course I wanted to do and it was local, meaning that it was accessible and with Leeds Trinity being smaller than other potential institutions I knew I would get more one-on-one time with lecturers.

Tom Jacques sitting in atrium.

Having met some of the students on an open day, they convinced me that this was the institution that I could thrive at. Being out of academia for several years this friendliness and community setting really helped me overcome any anxiety I had about returning to education.

My best memories

I really enjoyed the variety of modules I was able to learn from. My highlights were the practical elements of the course, I get a lot out of the hands-on experience in the classroom. The second year was challenging as it was during the Covid pandemic, but I got through this with determination and the support and advice from my tutors. Being able to easily speak to a tutor was helpful for my overall well-being as well.

Employability training

The pandemic made placements very difficult, especially with my field of study. Instead of embarking on a placement I utilised this time to improve my employability options by writing practice applications and developing my CV. Some of the areas I was writing these applications for were for further study routes.

Tom Jacques standing in atrium.

My further learning and career since graduating

After graduating I went on to study for a Masters elsewhere, utilising the research I had undertaken on potential course providers. During my MA, I undertook a big research project where I shadowed a nutritionist at a Championship Football Club.

I finished my MA in September 2023 and immediately started my PhD. At this time, I also started working for Leeds Rhinos. Having previously gained some experience at the Championship Football Club, I was able to settle in to the sporting environment quickly.

What I enjoy most about my job

It is great to be able to work with the scholarship players on their nutritional needs as essentially I am starting from scratch with them all. I am really able to educate them at this age and develop consistent and professional practice when it comes to their diet.

It was very pleasing after about six months in the job to see how this had paid off for them and the little wins were starting to come through. The next stages for me include building more trust and rapport with the players and supporting and developing them even more.

My advice to anyone thinking of studying a similar course

Leeds Trinity offers a very personable and one-on-one student experience. You get a unique chance to learn from lecturers in a small group setting where you can ask a lot of questions in a very friendly environment.