Brechin City FC player-manager Darren Dods is juggling his work with university studies as he looks forward to a new career as a college lecturer.
The 42-year-old is a student on the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) course at the University of Stirling.
The course is aimed at people with previous work experience who are looking to become college lecturers.
Darren was a full-time professional football player for 21 years - including stints at Hibernian, St Johnstone, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Dundee United - before going part-time in 2013, when he took the chance to return to education.
He gained an HNC and then an HND in Sport and Fitness. After completing a degree in Sports Science at Napier University, he decided to apply for the TQFE course.
“I’m 42 now,” he said. “It’s time to hang up the boots. Playing has come to an end, managing is short-term, so I am looking for another career.”
Darren, who recently faced his biggest game as a manager when Brechin City played Celtic in the Scottish FA cup, said that as well as preparing him for a change of career, the TQFE course is helping him in his current job.
“I’m really enjoying the course,” he said. “The knowledge and understanding I am gaining on the course has been beneficial when coaching and talking to the players.
“At the start, I would be standing in front of the players talking, talking, talking. Now I have learned the importance of giving them a chance to have some input and they are more motivated and engaged.”
TQFE Programme Director Dr Kevin Brosnan said: “Darren is good example of the type of people we have on this course.
“They already have a career but are looking to transition to become a college lecturer. They are often people who have very busy lives but can still achieve high levels across a number of different areas in their lives.
“I always find it inspiring when I see people like Darren who are managing to juggle all these balls and cope with all these different challenges.
“Colleges are looking for people, not only with a solid academic background, but with the real world experience they value. In Darren’s case it’s sport and sports coaching. That’s quite a big area of provision within colleges.”