In the first of a series of blogs, Jill Eaton, director of Stevenage Sporting Futures Team, tells us about her experience of hiring apprentices in the sport and active leisure sector.
Stevenage Sporting Futures Team has been passionate about developing a home-grown coaching workforce ever since it was established as a Schools Sports Partnership in 2003.
We are based in a community which is renowned for low aspiration of our young people, and we believe we can make a difference to lives through our provision of Quality PE and school sport sessions.
In 2007, we started our Partnership Coach programme. We employ 18 year olds and provide them with a year of experience and qualifications. At the end of the programme, our recruits have more confidence and a better feel for the career pathways available to them in sport.
We decided to take the concept further last year after working with SkillsActive on the Future Jobs Fund programme. The experience opened our eyes to the possibility of transforming the Partnership Coach programme into a sporting Apprenticeship. We now have 12 pilot apprentices working at Stevenage, including one who we retained from the Future Jobs Fund programme.
We work with Sporting Futures Training cic, a training provider specialising in school-based, work-based learning to support our apprentices. Our team of experienced PE specialists and coaches provide our apprentices with in house training. They also undertake a Level 2 NVQ Activity Leadership and a level 2 NGB award. Working with people, life-skills, employability comes with the turf.
The increased workforce provided by Apprenticeships has had a great impact in our schools and community - improving participation and providing positive role models for our youngsters. Apprenticeships have also enabled us to have a club based apprentice at Stevenage Scorpians - a level 2 Coach who works developing basketball within the town.
We hope through Sporting Futures Training we can take the model to other areas, as the value for our apprentices and the young people who work with them is immense.