New College Lanarkshire has reopened applications for its hugely popular HNC Soccer Academy Coaching Programme, in partnership with Rangers Football Club.
First launched in August 2021, the initiative gives students the knowledge and skills they need to work as professionals within football or the wider discipline of sports development and coaching. The programme will also pave the way for further study at HND or Degree level.
The programme has proved hugely popular in its first year, with 20 students taking their places on this year’s programme, which is based at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld. Since it began, the students have been on work placements within the Rangers Soccer Academy, shadowing Rangers coaching staff, joining monthly coach development webinars with key staff members and enjoying access to the Rangers Online Academy.
The HNC also includes an embedded, stand alone, industry-recognised Professional Development Award in Sports Coaching at SCQF Level 7. This is jointly certificated by SportScotland and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).
Todd Lumsden, Curriculum and Quality Leader for Sport and Fitness and New College Lanarkshire added:
“When we launched the programme last year, we knew it would be very popular, so I am delighted to be able to offer the programme again for a second year and would advise anyone interested to apply early as we expect huge demand again.
“You will learn all the theory with NCL, and then Rangers Soccer Academy will give you the opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice with a top-flight football club. It’s a unique chance to boost your employment prospects either within football or sports coaching, or to take the first step towards an HND or Degree.”
Ryan Smith, who is currently a student on the programme said:
“I decided to go back to education at the age of 29 to pursue a passion in football coaching. The course mixes class time with home learning and most importantly, pitch time. Getting out coaching with the Rangers Soccer Academy has been excellent too, being able to learn from other coaches but also picking up different coaching styles. A personal highlight was being invited to the Rangers Training Centre to watch a session from an academy coach.
“I feel this programme is expanding my coaching knowledge but also helping me grow as a person, and I look forward to continuing to develop and hopefully gain employment with the Rangers Soccer Academy.”
Fellow student Sharon Knox said:
“Going back to college as a mature student was the most daunting thought, especially going into a course like this one at Rangers Soccer Academy, where I felt it would be male dominated. I have got to say though that all my worries and fears have been eliminated and I am absolutely loving college life and the work we do through Rangers. This has given me a clear vision of the path I hope to take. If I pass my HNC I would like to go forward and do an HND, and hopefully further education after that. I would love to land a job at Rangers, or with a sports development set-up at another football club.”
She added: “I would advise any mature students to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and to follow your passion, this definitely has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Current student David Brownlie, who has played football for over a decade for clubs such as Queens Park, Rangers, Ross County and Airdrie, hopes to further his knowledge of coaching through the course. He said: “I am currently working within Rangers Soccer Academy and have been involved in Rangers Football Academy and the Development Centres. I started the course as I wanted to develop myself as a coach. The HNC course will allow me to have an educational background in coaching as well as being able to push forward towards my HND.
“If all goes well, then I’d like to be working more regularly within Rangers Football Club and hopefully, in years to come, have completed a Degree. I’d also like to visit America to see the different culture within football there.”
For more information on the Rangers Soccer Academy Coaching Programme starting in August 2022, or to apply, visit https://www.nclanarkshire.ac.uk/courses/sport/hnc-rangers-soccer-academy-coaching-programme