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University of Gloucestershire sports students are working as voluntary sports coaches across the county, helping young people and gaining valuable coaching experience.
A new scheme enables students to undertake voluntary work in their chosen sport/s in return for subsidised places on National Governing Body coaching courses. Twenty-two students have been undertaking a range of coaching projects in the county with various clubs, schools and sport development programmes. The scheme aims to enhance students CV’s and the sports provision in the county by initiating new coaching projects and supporting those already in existence.
A win-win program like this takes planning. It was initiated last year by Andy Pitchford, Sports Development lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus, a brand new facility which excels in sports teaching. Working with him was current Chaplaincy Sports Outreach Worker Simon Padley.
Two MA students, Jennifer Phipps and Gareth Evans, studying sports development have volunteered to administer the program and utilised the services of the Gloucestershire Sports Partnership (GSP) to place the students. Hamish Neal, Club and Volunteer Development Officer, at the GSP has worked with the various sports to place the students in coaching roles.
First year Sports Education student, Kate Nicholls, commenced her placement in March with Community Netball Coach Alison Croad from the GSP. Kate has been delivering a tailored coaching program at Newent Community School.
As a result of her experience Kate has the confidence to single-handedly run coaching sessions. Netball coach Alison, acted as her mentor, and was very impressed saying “Kate displays great confidence during her coaching.”
Kate herself was quoted after one session as saying “I want Alison’s job!” and her experience will be useful as she progresses in her Sports Education course.
Some other placements have included students working with local football clubs, helping district teams train for the hugely successful Gloucestershire Youth Games which were held in June, and volunteering in the early stages of an Inner-City cricket club run at GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester.
This innovative program, which has been running only a short time, is already making a great impact in shaping future coaches and is real benefit to clubs, teams and individual young sportsmen and women across Gloucestershire.
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