Independent evaluation of Coach Core programme

Academic study highlights the benefits of Apprenticeships and Coach Core’s model.

By James Burbidge · 18th August 2022

We recently commissioned a piece of independent, academic research as an evaluation of our programme. We wanted to get external eyes to give an fair and honest appraisal of the programme, with a particular focus on our apprentices’ experiences.

Written by Dr Haydn Morgan (University of Bath) and Will Roberts (University of Waikato, NZ), the study interviewed Coach Core apprentices either on, or who had completed, the L2 Community Activator Coach qualification.

Three key findings from the study were:

1. How important apprenticeships are to re-engage young people with employment and education

“The young adults we spoke to were often economically inactive or we not engaged with formal systems of employment. The Coach Core apprenticeship was often pivotal in their re-engagement with formal systems”
– Morgan & Roberts

This speaks to the importance of the general breadth of apprenticeship qualifications, offering people the chance to train at something they feel passionate about, when they may have disengaged with school. Coach Core’s focus on sport and our work with Lifetime Training to ‘de-classroom’ the education part of the apprenticeship are proving effective at engaging young people.

2. That the apprenticeship enabled young people to remain within local areas; they do not need to move away to obtain employment and training

A local apprenticeship enables those who aren’t able or willing to leave their current residence to access the opportunities that will enable them to flourish. It also increases the amount of skilled people in the region, and for Coach Core apprentices, sets them up to become role models for the children they work with. This strongly aligns with the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, to end geographical inequality.

“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”

Dan, Leeds

3. That a mentor is a significant factor in the development of personal skills and the overall success of the apprenticeship

“Many of the participants picked up on this key role as part of their training journey, specifically identifying this role as key to their development and ability to flourish”
– Morgan & Roberts

In particular, respondents noted that their Learning Coach (responsible for delivering the education side of the apprenticeship) was a key figure, in both a formal and informal sense, utilising their skills as an experienced guide:

“He’s absolutely amazing, anything you need, you know, he’ll message you…anything that I might be struggling on, he’ll say ‘well is it better that you approach it this way?’ I see him as a friend rather than a teacher… After I finish with the National Trust I think I could [pick up the phone to my learning coach]”

Lucy, Tyne & Wear

Other themes to emerge from the evaluation are:

  • There is a real sense that young adults value apprenticeships
  • It is important to experience the real world of work and to develop networks
  • Developing personal skills is a key facet for young adults in apprenticeships
  • Mentoring and relationships are key to supporting young adults
  • Consideration is needed regarding the appropriateness of qualifications and supporting young adults when graduating from apprenticeships


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