Like many who grow up in country Victoria, Jason McCurry spent a lot of time playing and watching sport.
Sport not only helped keep him fit and active, but in a smaller rural community it provided vital links to friendships and social connections.
A couple of decades on, sport is now the link to Jason’s career.
After completing a sport management degree with Deakin Business School, Jason is now working as university sport officer where he develops programs to engage students and help them keep active while studying.
It was during his VCE years that he first thought about channelling his passion for sport into a professional pathway.
‘At the time, my brother, who’d also studied at Deakin, was working in the sports industry with the AFL and hearing about his work made me start looking at the bigger picture of sport rather than just as a fan,’ he recalls.
Studying business management in Year 12 further cemented Jason’s goal to combine his love of sports and business and he began to explore tertiary options.
‘Deakin has an amazingly-ranked sport management course so I decided to aim high and apply for it as my number one preference, which I was lucky to receive,’ he says.
The following year he moved to the student residences at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus and began a Bachelor of Business majoring in sport management.
Jason says some of the sport program’s highlights were its resources, practical work placements and valuable networking opportunities.
‘My favourite unit was Sports Marketing and I was also lucky enough to complete three internships with Basketball Australia, Disability Sport and Recreation, and Baseball Victoria – all of which I was able to organise through Deakin connections. Each placement covered a different area ranging from customer service, marketing and commercial, and program delivery and operations.’
His first professional role was as an event executive with a well-known Melbourne sports agency.
‘We worked with corporate organisations coordinating running and cycling events. All the elements of my Deakin course have been really useful – and necessary – for my practical working life … it’s given me a much greater understanding of all of the different roles and areas within sport,’ he reflects.
Now working at RMIT University, he says the hands-on work experience and strong industry links gained while completing degree has provided him with workplace confidence and skills.
‘My experience at Deakin has really helped me understand the needs of students as well as the strategic side of sport management,’ he says.
Jason also holds a lifetime interest in helping minority groups, especially people with disabilities.
He says that Deakin lecturer Dr Katie Rowe’s teaching further inspired his interest and passion about the impact that sport can have on someone’s life.
In particular, how it can forge bonds between those from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
‘Through this, I’m now passionate about advocating for everyone to achieve their full potential, no matter what their circumstances or disability,’ he says.
‘Last month, I was lucky enough to join the Board of Directors of People with Disability Australia (PWDA). PWDA does some great work within disability advocacy and I’m looking forward to helping them on multiple policy and program initiatives, whilst adding my sports experience and knowledge to the agenda.’
In the long term, he’d like to work in sport management on the international stage but for now he’s enjoying providing fitness programs for students and engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders across multiple areas.
‘I’ve realised there are amazing developmental opportunities within the university environment, so I’m looking to further build my experience within mass participation and/or community sport. I’m also passionate about sports marketing and communications. My Deakin degree has turned out to be everything I wanted – and more.’