Ilya playing football at university

Ilya is UoP Alumni and former captain of the Men's Football Club, find out about his career after university.

5 min read

As part of our EmPLAYability campaign, we're sharing stories from UoP Alumni who were also members of Team UoP during their studies. These stories are focussed on their careers after university and the benefits of playing sport at university.

Ilya was the captain of Team UoP Men's Football Club, whilst studying for his undergraduate and master's at the University of Portsmouth. He now works for Carrington West, a highly successful recruitment company and our Sports Club sponsor.

Did you know what career you wanted to embark on upon finishing university? Did this change once you started looking for jobs?

I was hoping to get into employment that could either benefit my master's degree in GIS or alternatively my bilingual Russian skills. A combination of both would have been ideal and I was really keen to get into a Russian oil and gas company but the oil crisis in 2012/2013 made this near impossible. Plus starting salaries for graduates were appalling so I decided to try out recruitment as a stop-gap until I found something else!

How did you come across Carrington West in your search for employment?

I started working for a local Portsmouth recruitment agency and was there for about a year before being approached by Carrington West.

How did playing sport at University help you in your career?

Playing sports and being a team captain certainly gave me a degree of confidence when looking for work. I knew that I was comfortable speaking to new people as at Uni I often went from one team to another and sometimes didn’t know many players there as well as my own team. Even 10 years out of Uni I still think the initial sports I played there gave me a massive confidence boost I use daily at work and personal life!

How does working life compare to university life?

Work provides a routine which is important for planning and organising your time. You know exactly when you’re at work and not, how much you’re getting paid and what you can and cannot save or spend your money on. You can’t really bunk work like you’d do with lectures but you definitely fall into a routine quite quickly.

What advice would you give to your former self when transitioning from university to work-life?

Take time to listen and observe and don’t get involved in office politics. I'm always one for keeping your head down and cracking on with work. Recruitment can change your lifestyle and send you down a career path you have never heard of before so it’s easy to get lost in the first few weeks or months.

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently a team leader for our Highways Public Sector South East division and I am very happy in my role. I have stability, a clear career path and an excellent work-life balance – which I would like to maintain for the future. Over the next few years, I would like to progress into a manager/director type role with Carrington West and oversee a larger team or perhaps an entire division.

Ilya is on the right path to achieving everything he hopes to in terms of his career. The skills that he learnt whilst being a member of the Team UoP Men's Football Club has perfectly equipped him with the confidence, team spirit and personal development needed to be successful in a working environment. We would like to congratulate Ilya for how well he has done in his work life so far and can't wait to see what the future holds. 

If after hearing Ilya's story you are interested in finding out more about Carrington West, you can visit their website. Carrington West may be particularly of interest to you if you are considering a career in the following:

  • UK highways
  • Transport and infrastructure
  • Town planning, water and environmental, utilities, power and telecoms
  • Building and rail industries
  • Recruitment

Careers and Employability Service

We also have services here at the University that will be useful to utilise on your search for employment. Our Careers & Employability Service is able to support you for 5 years after you graduate. So if you'd like some help with your job search, your CV, or want to talk through your options with one of our qualified Careers Advisors then why not contact the team today at

If you're specifically looking for a graduate job in Hampshire or along the South Coast, then we also have a specialist Graduate Jobs team in place to help you get the right opportunity. They are on hand to source opportunities and make introductions for you to local employers, tailor your CV and help you prepare for interviews. Watch our video to hear more about how they are able to help you with your next steps. Should you wish to discuss the role you are looking for with the Graduate Jobs Team, please contact them at You visit the Careers and Employability page to find out any additional information. 

Playing sport whilst at university can provide you with a whole range of skills that will help you in your search for employment.