From education to employment

Apprenticeship propels athlete to Olympic standard

An athlete with his sights set on competing in the 2016 Olympic Games says that he has been helped by an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) at Bradford College.

Boxer Jack Bateson, 17, has taken part in the sports performance programme for young athletes, created by SkillsAcitive and funded by the Skills Funding Agency.

Leeds-based Bateson now hopes to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and believes the programme has provided him with the guidance required to get there.

“AASE has helped me to plan for the future and set my career plans, with short, medium and long term goals through to the 2016 Olympics,” he said.

“The programme has helped me so much, I’m really sad to be leaving at the end of this year; I’ve had such a strong network of support. I have learned a huge amount about what it takes to reach the top and perform to the best of your ability, the coaching team have been fantastic.”

The AASE is a sports performance programme for young talented athletes. It’s designed to directly measure an athlete’s ability to plan, apply and evaluate their development in the appropriate technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of their sport.

It also addresses wider issues such as lifestyle, career development, communication and health and safety.

Bateson visited Tenerife in August 2011 as part of the programme, where he trained at high altitude with young boxers from across the UK.

Participants experienced firsthand the different training environment, with training including running up mountains.

He said: “I would definitely recommend the AASE programme to anyone, but it’s not an easy ride. It has helped me to juggle my boxing and education in the best possible way and realise that it is only hard work that gets you to the very top.”

Bateson is now training in the England Youth squad and is looking forward to the second stage trials for the GB Senior Development squad that will be selected over the next few months.

The GB squad will meet regularly in Sheffield with the ultimate goal of competing at the 2016 Olympics and beyond.

Having boxed since the age of nine, Bateson follows in the footsteps of his Dad and Uncle, who have both been boxing coaches.

Alongside his career in boxing, he explains that the AASE programme has helped him plan for a career as a PE teacher and he hopes to secure a place at university for the end of this year.

Linsey Humphries

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