A new generation of young, aspiring coaches have moved closer to forging careers at their clubs after completing the British Gymnastics Apprenticeship Programme during lockdown.
Run in partnership with Bridgwater & Taunton College, the British Gymnastics Apprenticeship Programme provides clubs and individuals the opportunity to create full-time careers in gymnastics, supporting the development of young coaches who are already invested in the sport.
This year has been a particularly difficult year for our Apprentices due to the coronavirus pandemic which has caused logistical issues and has put the potential of the Programme at risk due to lockdown measures hampering business at many clubs.
Despite this, 14 apprentices have come through this year’s programme and many are taking up coaching positions at their clubs.
Chloe Shelley is one of the Apprentices who has come through this year’s programme and is now working at her club. Chloe did her apprenticeship at Spring Gymnastics in Norwich and worked at the club in and around lockdown whilst doing her coursework for the programme.
"I found it quite hard at first when I started working at the club as I was mainly there in the evenings and my family and friends would be working during the day but as time went on it become more normal."
"There’s a lot more to the club than I expected, particularly around the admin side where we have to make sure everything is up to date and that our systems are running correctly; it was very interesting."
"Having completed the Apprenticeship Programme I feel a lot more confident about what I’m doing, especially going into the job that I am now doing as I know what to expect, working evenings and on weekends. The programme has also given me the chance to work with people from all over the country who I wouldn’t have met had it been for this."
Head Coach at Spring Gymnastics, Heidi Palmer has been working with Chloe during her apprenticeship, teaching her the coaching side and the admin side of the club. She has been particularly impressed by Chloe’s commitment to the club where she has been putting her learning into practice.
"Chloe has been fantastic. She has really taken on the ethos of the club, about being positive and ensuring the children are having fun whilst being taught correctly. It’s been a learning curve for her, and us as a club as she has been brought in ideas around coaching and fundraising that she has learnt from her course and that has been really beneficial to us.
"For a gymnastics club it’s a huge advantage having someone young in there, because it helps to retain gymnasts. The majority of our participants are young and they tend to leave quite young so having an older teenager here encourages the older ones to stay."
Since the inception of the British Gymnastics Apprenticeship Programme, around 100 learners have come through the programme, making steps towards a career in sport either through their club or by going on to do further learning at university.
Whilst gaining valuable work experience at their club, earning while they learn, Apprentices can choose to study either the Level 2 Community Activator Coach Standard (includes a funded Level 1 or Level 2 coaching course in a gymnastics discipline), a Level 3 Sport Development Framework or an Apprenticeship in Level 3 Community Sport and Health Officer.
Clubs who have benefited from taking on apprentices have found it has increased their ability to offer a more diverse range of classes and increase participation.
Applications for this year’s Apprenticeship Programme is ongoing and rolling. Some clubs may be eligible for an additional employer incentive of up to £2,000 if your apprentice starts before 31st January 2021. For more information about this and the Apprenticeship Programme, please contact [email protected].