Name: David Hill

My job title: Paralympic Athlete / Athlete Mentor / Swimming Coach / Personal Trainer

How I got the job… I have competed for 15 years internationally. I started life in sport at a very young age, as a swimmer. I entered my first local competition when I was 8 years old and started to take part in national and international competitions when I was only 12, before realising my Paralympic dream when I was 15. I was lucky to compete in Athens 2004 Paralympics and was a swimmer up to London 2012 when I decided to change sports and get into Paratriathlon, which combines swimming cycling and running. I was able to relive my Paralympic dream to compete in Rio in 2016. I am also an Athlete Mentor.

I also continue to learn and develop my skills, through volunteering and doing various training courses. I’ve volunteered as a youth worker and qualified as a swimming teacher, lifeguard, gym instructor and as a personal trainer.

My position in a nutshell… There are lots of different aspects to my role, as I don’t have one fixed job. It’s the variety of those tasks that keep me energised. I’m always looking for work and different projects to take on. It also means I have to continuously network and connect with people.

Much of my work now is working with 16-25-year olds either NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training) or inactive, so not doing any exercise or sport. Through my interventions, my work and me sharing my story, I hope to inspire and motivate young people to begin adopting an active and healthy lifestyle, improve their mental and physical wellbeing and work towards achieving their goals.

My typical day… Is varied. I could be planning some content, delivering a talk to an audience to inspire and motivate them to be the best that they can be, writing swimming programmes, or planning competitions for my swimming club. I also write reports or carry out surveys to measure the impact of my work. I also need to maintain a good reputation and build good working relationships – so that means lots of emails! But I do make sure there is time each day for a dog walk on the beach.

My most memorable moment… The first ever speech I did to a large audience. I was really nervous, right up to before I was going to deliver it, but the applause I got at the end of it made it all worthwhile and made me appreciate the benefit of my story and how I could use my experiences to impact and help others.

The best part of my job… Working with young people, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone, realise their potential and go on to accomplish their goals.

The worst part of my job… Not knowing if anyone is going to turn up to one of my sessions. I can do all the planning in the world, however if other people don’t give it the chance and turn up, I can’t deliver and do my job.

The key skills/attributes needed in your role…

  • Commitment and patience – appreciating that success isn’t going to happen overnight,
  • Attention to detail, organisation, and time management – making sure everything you do looks professional,
  • Being adaptable and creative – thinking outside of the box and finding a way to do things differently,
  • Stickability – the power to be able to keep going and be disciplined and focussed,
  • Confidence, approachability and communication skills – always make sure that the energy you give off is really positive.

Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… Build a network and volunteer in something you are really passionate about. When you find something that you love, the hard work comes easy. Know yourself and embrace your uniqueness – know your strengths and what you can bring to the workplace and any other opportunities that come your way.

This video was created in partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust