MOST people can only dream of getting paid for doing the thing they are most passionate about in life.
But one Larne entrepreneur has made his dream a reality and now operates a successful business by sharing his passion with other people.
Philip Jamison has been in love with the sport of table tennis ever since he first picked up a bat at the age of 13.
Now 21-years-old, the Larne man is earning a living by passing down the skills he has learned over the years.
“I was football mad when I was younger, but table tennis just took over and I quickly became quite good at it,” Philip told the Times.
“I have played for various Division One leagues throughout Northern Ireland as well as Ulster, and I am currently ranked seventh in the Ulster Seniors and first in the Ulster 21s.
“The one thing that I love as much as playing table tennis is teaching other people how to play it and helping them get into the sport. Table tennis really is a game that anyone can play, as it is easy to learn and excellent for improving hand to eye coordination and quick thinking.
“I have picked up quite a bit of coaching experience over the years, and for the past three summers I have trained in Poland with the best coaches in Eastern Europe.”
Philip had been unemployed for about a year before he made the decision to go into business for himself. He signed up for the Go For It programme, a free scheme funded by Invest NI and delivered locally by LEDCOM, which aims to help local entrepreneurs get their fledgling businesses off the ground.
“There was no one else offering table tennis coaching in the Larne area, so I decided I could fill the gap in the market,” Philip said.
“I am so glad I enrolled in the course. The people at LEDCOM were fantastic and they still provide me with support in the form of one-to-one mentoring. I also received support from the Princes Trust in the form of a small grant.”
Since establishing Jamison Table Tennis Coaching in September, Philip has worked with a number of schools across East Antrim and introduced many young people to the sport that he loves.
He said: “The age bracket that I cater for is between eight and 15 years old, and I get most of my business through primary schools.
“Kilcoan Primary is the perfect example of how quickly young people can pick up table tennis. I began teaching 10 pupils at the school, and within four months they quickly improved and decided they wanted to play in matches. They won their very first tournament and went on to become Ulster Champions, which was quite an achievement for such a small school.
“I have also coached at a number of other schools including Larne Grammar, and I still coach at my local club, which is based at First Larne Presbyterian Church Hall.”
Philip admitted that juggling his role as a coach with that of his duties as a player could be quite challenging at times, but added that he would not have it any other way.
And he spoke of his excitement over the upcoming Olympic Games in London, where table tennis will have a strong presence.
“There has never been a better time for young people to start playing table tennis,” he concluded.
Anyone who is interested in receiving coaching lessons from Jamison Table Tennis Coaching can contact Philip on 078511 209764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org