Apprentice Interview: Junior from Essex

We caught up with Junior, who has just finished his apprenticeship with Brentwood Leisure Trust and is about to embark on the next stage of his journey...

By James Burbidge · 6th October 2020

Junior started a Coach Core apprenticeship in Essex in 2017, working at Brentwood Leisure Trust with his mentor Nicky Smith. We caught up with him as he wrapped up his apprenticeship to find out how the experience had been and what was coming next:

Coach Core apprentice stands with lifeguard belt

Can you tell us a bit about your background, before you started at Coach Core?
The first time I got into coaching was doing Public Services at college. There was a little bit of coaching in there, we had to do a session plan. I enjoyed that so I changed it up to Sports for the second year. Halfway through that I wanted to do an apprenticeship with you guys because it would give me more practical sports coaching.

How was the recruitment process?
It was great! We went in to County Hall and showed a bit of a demonstration of sports coaching to the employers. After that I got an interview with Brentwood and then I got employed.

What have Brentwood had you doing over the last 15 months?
I’ve been doing an event every Friday night for 2 hours for the kids, called Friday Night Takeover. The kids come in, we plan a little session and then do some coaching with them. Every half-term and school holidays I’ve been doing something called Fit and Fed – our holiday hunger programme. Also I’ve done Ladies of Leisure on Tuesdays, a multi-sport session for women, it’s really busy, always full. But they’re not coming now because of the virus.

Have you done any coaching since Covid?
I wasn’t able to, because the centre was closed. But I did youtube videos and watched other coaches.

What else have you been working on?
In February I did my lifeguard training course which took a week. Before February I could not swim! I trained every day with a swim teacher who helped me. I did that for a month and half and then did a week of full intense lifeguard training course and passed! It’s a big achievement for me, especially as I was so ill that week, but I powered through.

“As a proud employer, I have to add, he worked his socks off for [the lifeguard qualification]. Because he knew it was such an essential part of the job, and if he did get into uni he would need to have a sustainable job. We would have employed him full time anyway though.”

Nicky Smith

What’s next for you?
I’m going to Roehampton University to do Sports Coaching. When I went to the open day I mentioned the coaching for disabilities which I’d done through Coach Core [with another Coach Core employer, Sport for Confidence] and that set a spark off in his head – he said not many people had that experience.

When did you start thinking about going to university.
Before the apprenticeship I wasn’t really keen on going to university, but from talking with my mum and how much better jobs I could get with a degree. I thought, I’m doing sports coaching now, so why not do it for another 3 years at university. They accepted my UCAS as a whole, with how much experience I had sports coaching with you guys, and they gave me an unconditional offer.

What were some of your best memories from the apprenticeship?
Brentwood Leisure Centre! They gave me so many opportunities to do sports coaching and they helped with my lifeguard course. They helped me with a lot of stuff that is going to help my future. And the Royal visit. We were at Basildon and we had an interview with them. They were easy to talk to, just like another normal person to talk with – they were chill.

What would you say to anyone considering a Coach Core apprenticeship?
Do it – it gives you so much opportunity in life. They open doors, they help you with everything, when you need them they help you. They do events, you learn about coaching and you get paid at the same time. I highly recommend them doing it.

Thanks for your time Junior, congratulations and best of luck at Roehampton!

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Coach Core apprentice, you can do so here.
If you’re interested in becoming an employer, you can read more here.

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