Graduate Finalists – Coach Core Awards 2024

This award celebrates a graduated Coach Core apprentice who has gone on to achieve remarkable things since their programme finished.

By James Burbidge · 19th January 2024

The Coach Core apprenticeship is just the first step! Whether they stay with their employer, move jobs or change sector entirely doesn’t matter – the Coach Core programme is about equipping people with the skills they’ll need to thrive for the rest of their careers. We love hearing about what Coach Core apprentices go on to after their programme – and their success stories comes in all shapes and sizes. Every year we invite nominations for our Graduate of the Year in order to celebrate their triumphs.


Aura Chacón Godoy

Aura completed her apprenticeship with Leicestershire County Cricket and is now working for Leicester City FC in the Community where she has developed projects for women including dance, fitness, football and multi-sports. She has a passion for helping older people stay active and has developed sessions including walking football, exercise-to-music and multi-sport. She has also supported language sessions at local secondary schools in partnership with LCFC Men’s football team, to inspire young men and women to succeed in sport and physical activity even if English is not your first language. She works mainly in the St Matthews community where she has become a trusted figure and the face of Leicester City FC in the Community.

“Aura is an inspiration and her passion, desire and enthusiasm shines through on a daily basis.”

Deimantas Naujalis

Deimantas moved to the UK from Lithuania when he was 10 and came with a passion for sport because, as he puts it “all Lithuanians are born with a basketball in their hands”. He joined the Coach Core apprenticeship programme with Shine in 2020 and since completing that, has made the move to Bristol Sport Foundation where he now works full-time in basketball with the Bristol Flyers community programmes. He leads delivery at the Wellsway hub and prides himself on providing inclusive and fun sessions that encourage all participants to fall in love with sport. His sessions are now regularly sold out and he also won ‘Coach of the Term’. He has continued to gain qualifications, getting a Level 2 Food Hygiene certificate so he can do more to support the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, as well as a qualification in young people’s mental health.

“He is always super positive and friendly, and is passionate about delivering basketball. The children and staff at Sea Mills have loved his sessions!”

Lewis Ritchie

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear
Lewis started a Level 2 apprenticeship with Hat-Trick in 2019 and took up a full-time position with them when he finished, immediately started a Level 3 apprenticeship with them, which he completed in 2023. He gained distinctions on both, despite having struggled academically at school due to his having dyslexia. Lewis is now managing several projects at Hat-Trick, where he not only delivers inclusive sessions to hard-to-reach young people in disadvantaged communities, but also offers volunteering opportunities that help community members develop leadership and employability skills. He is also now mentoring Hat-Trick’s younger apprentices. He was a major contributor towards a funding application to the Ministry of Justice in which Hat-Trick will work with teenagers in secondary schools and communities engaging them through sport whilst looking at issues affecting them including county lines, theft, violence and knife crime awareness.  His work has been noticed wider afield and he is currently seconded to Gateshead Council, leading on their Active Through Football programme across the Borough.

“Lewis leads by example and sets high standards for both himself and for those he works with. Feedback from those who attend his sessions are that he’s one of the strongest deliverers and he really cares about the experience of the participants he’s looking after.”

Our Sponsors

Lifetime Training and Amazing Apprenticeships are proud sponsors of Coach Core Awards.

Lifetime Training provides cutting edge skills training, designed to help people exceed their potential and give businesses the ultimate competitive advantage. They will be sponsoring the Mentor of the Year and Employer of the Year categories.

Amazing Apprenticeships are a leading organisation in the education sector, working with schools, colleges and employers, tackling misconceptions and promoting the benefits of apprenticeships and technical education. They will be sponsoring the post-event reception.




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