Coach Core Celebrates our 10th Anniversary!

The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started the Coach Core programme in 2012, in the wake of the London Riots and to contribute to the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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10 years on – and on the eve of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – our now-independent charity has supported 726 young people onto community sports coaching apprenticeships, helping them overcome disadvantages to start meaningful careers, re-engage with education and increase activity levels in their local areas. We are pleased to say that 80% of Coach Core apprentices complete the apprenticeship, against a national average of 58%.

From Day 1 Coach Core has been built to work through partnerships. Our apprentices are placed with the best youth, sports and physical-activity organisations across the country, including Premier League football clubs, youth centres, the National Trust, trampolining facilities and boxing gyms. Over the 10 years we have worked with 187 different organisations to employ Coach Core apprentices, and many of them have worked with us several times across different programmes and sites.

“As a coach since the age of 17, growing up in tough communities where sport is your main escape, I know first-hand the hugely positive effects of sport and mentorship on influencing a young person’s life. I’ve had the privilege of launching and shaping Coach Core from the outset and I couldn’t be prouder of the young people who have come through our programmes and gone on to make a difference in the next generation’s lives.”

Gary Laybourne, Coach Core CEO

The Covid-19 pandemic reinforced the dramatic benefits of sport and activity for physical and mental health. Yet according to Sport England figures, under-represented groups – people living in deprived areas, women, those from ethnically diverse communities – are still less likely to be active. As grassroots coaches drawn from these communities, Coach Core apprentices are best placed to develop and deliver activity programmes that engage participants, and to become relatable role models.

We’re incredibly proud of the work our partners, apprentices and graduates are doing with these hard-to-reach populations. Over the last 10 years, Coach Core apprentices have delivered 593,860 sessions to an estimated 8,314,040 session participants.

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The Social Mobility Commission’s recent ‘State of the Nation’ report highlighted that: “widening access to university has not brought the dividends many hoped for, and has diverted attention away from the 50% that pursue other routes.” This emphasises the importance of charities like Coach Core, which are specifically focused on those pursuing other routes.

We recently commissioned a piece of independent academic research to better understand the impact of our work. It noted that Coach Core takes on apprentices who have generally been economically inactive and that the programme “acts as an enabler to holistic development.” Apprentices and graduates from the programme spoke at length with the researchers who found the following key themes emerged that indicate the effectiveness of the apprenticeship programme:

  • Experiencing the real world of work
  • Building networks
  • Developing personal skills
  • The importance of the programme’s mentoring structures

Dan, a former Coach Core apprentice from Leeds said:

“I thought I’d have to go away [to get a job in sport], but now I’ve got a job in my local area, where I grew up, I want to stick here and provide the next generation [with] opportunities 

When people think of an apprenticeship, they think of sweeping the floor and making cups of tea, but this qualification through Coach Core, and the employers that you go to isn’t that at all. It’s hands-on, there’s so much learning, it’s life-changing opportunities”

We’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary for a full year, going in depth on that research piece, as well highlighting stories of apprentices across our programmes and graduates across the years. Make sure to follow us on social media or sign up to our newsletter to keep in the loop.

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