Nikki Holmes

Clubs, Volunteers & Safeguarding Officer, Jersey Sport

I deal with numerous safeguarding queries from clubs which mostly involve giving general advice. Some require further action such as passing on concerns to the relevant authorities in Jersey, or liaising with national governing bodies in the UK. As I deliver safeguarding and anti-doping training, I need to do research to make sure I’m up to date on the latest local, national and international developments. I do a lot of DBS (police) checks for volunteers who work with children and I run the Jersey Club Mark Scheme, so I have many meetings with clubs around the Island.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Be professionally curious and remain confidential. An ability to communicate clearly with people from a range of backgrounds. Good organisation and attention to detail.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
I never planned to work in sport but I’ve always been a huge sports fan. I had a few years in finance and then qualified as a teacher, later working in special education and then in the education departments at HMP La Moye and Jersey Zoo. In my spare time, I was the board secretary for the Jersey Cricket Board looking after various governance issues, player registrations for tournaments and book-keeping. Then this opportunity came up and I think all the skills I had developed and contacts I had acquired, made me the right candidate for the position.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
I love training volunteers who are passionate about sport and keeping young people safe. We are lucky to have so many people who give up their time to help others and I feel privileged to be able to meet and help them. I recently really enjoyed delivering anti-doping education to Jersey’s Commonwealth Games hopefuls and the NatWest Island Games team.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?Safeguarding is a huge responsibility and you need to be able to broach diffcult subjects with people who may not want to listen. You also need to be prepared to work evenings/weekends as sport is not a 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday thing and most of the training I deliver is in the evenings to meet the needs of volunteers.

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
I completed the Jersey Safeguarding Partnership Board’s trainer qualifications for safeguarding both children and adults at risk and attend regular professional development training. I also did the Sports Coach UK Safeguarding Tutor course in the UK and worked with the UK’s Child Protection in Sport Unit to accredit and deliver a local course for club welfare officers (who are responsible for safeguarding in clubs). I recently attended a course in London to become a UK anti-doping educator.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
I think this role is less about qualifications and more about
having a broad range of experience, the right attitude and a love of sport (a coaching qualification helps – I’m a qualified cricket coach). If you like managing your own time, have a flexible approach and a willingness to engage with and help other people, then this is the job for you.