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Coach Core: Providing Future Coaches and Linking Communities

Posted: Mon, 07 Nov 2016 11:18

Coach Core: Providing Future Coaches and Linking Communities

In 2012, the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry launched the Coach Core programme; a 12 month paid apprenticeship for 16-24 year olds living in challenging communities.

Our mission is simply 3 to address things:

1) We want to train our young people to give them the best education and experiences that will allow them to progress in life but we also want them developing personally as well as professionally. We help them understand that planning, resilience and self-motivation are the key to their success and we do this by providing a number of training workshops, experiences in many sporting industry areas, not just coaching, and also having key personnel attached to the programme to help support and develop them throughout.

2) We want to improve the coaching provision across the UK. For too long the focus has been on technical skills or generic coaching principles that are difficult to apply, particularly in tough social settings. Therefore we set about developing the a group of 'future coaches' that focus on child development, inclusion and positive environments so that the next generation of young people have a positive experience in sport and physical education regardless of their background, ability or social and physical situations.

3) We wanted to rip up the form book and show education and development doesn't have to come just from a central college or one to two organisations. By multiple businesses, professional sports clubs and key sporting organisations linking to provide employment places via a consortium model, this in turn creates numerous opportunities for unique experiences and shared learning not just for the 20 young people in each city or region but also across the employers themselves. The young people are exposed to more training, events and opportunities than ever before across the network and the employers are able to share costs, best practice and working staff to help benefit the programme and at times, their own overarching operations too.

So how do we achieve this?

Coach Core has a central education provider that undertakes the hassle of funding draw-down, learner registrations, resources and also provides our partners with key advice on the whole sector. They also recruit and deploy a full-time tutor to every programme who brings together the group 1-2 days a week for central learning and then assesses and supports the young people with the employer coaches 'in the field'. This means each employer partner is then able to focus fully on developing that young person via the right head coach mentor.

On top of the central, recognisable sports apprenticeship qualification, we blend together various NGB certificates and employability training with the underpinning Coach Core modules that link the learning and ensures that the child journey is always is the most important thing. Each consortium group is then encouraged to create or provide further training, experiences and events across a number of areas in their businesses so that the apprentice graduates with a wide variety of knowledge and training across the sports industry and not just coaching.

Since 2012, we have completed pilots in 3 cities in London, Glasgow and Cardiff and during this time, nearly 100 apprentices from challenging communities have graduated with 98% of them going on to further education or employment. Thanks to the engaging, exciting and supportive programme, we are also proud of the fact that some 80% of those graduates were still working with those employer partners 6 months after completing, most of which in a voluntary or part-time capacity.

In early 2016, the announcement was made that we would now scale up operations to have a presence in 10 UK cities by spring 2017, with a commitment to 3 years for each project. Since then, we have relaunched programmes in London, Glasgow and Cardiff as well as beginning new and exciting projects in Nottingham and Essex. With Manchester and Birmingham our next 2 programmes to launch, 3 further cities engaged and even additional meetings with CSP's, NGB's and Sport England exploring even greater expansion, it shows the programme is really making an impact.

We operate a sliding funding scale across these 3 years, but build in ongoing programme support and business links to ensure the partners begin to undertake the full programme themselves as time progresses. This means:

  • more young people will benefit from being on the programme, thus reducing youth unemployment (among many other social improvement factors)
  • more businesses and organisations will feel the value of working to this model
  • more communities enjoy a better standard of coaching provision.

In short, Coach Core is improving lives and changing perceptions on a number of levels and our hope is that we can continue to expand and work with more partners in more cities around the UK so it's effects are felt nationwide.

Gary Laybourne is Project Manager for Coach Core: gary.laybourne@royalfoundation.com

Tags: Sport, Sport and Development, Sport for development, community sport, development

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