From education to employment

Largest College in Sussex Wins £3 Million to Support Olympic Games Skills Training

Sussex Downs College, which is the largest college in its county, appears set to become integral to the preparation for the Olympic Games in London in 2012 following the announcement of a funding award worth almost £3 million.

The award is to be targeted at the requirements of the sports industries in the areas of employment and skills needs. The project will see the college ““ a member of the Association of South East Colleges (AoSEC) – delivering a wide variety of training and skills programmes to people throughout the region, ranging from coaching to sports management. Sussex Downs College will not be alone in this; there will be more than 40 partner organisations. The College is the lead partner of the area’s Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in Sport & Recreation that was awarded in September 2005.

On Your Marks

There is an emphasis being placed on both the quality and content of the qualification as well as the breadth of the training on offer. One project, called the “On Your Marks” programme, is aiming to offer the top tier of athletes with advanced apprenticeships in their chosen sport. This is will be offered along with the range of other qualifications.

There are hopes that one participant of the European Social Fund (ESF) supported project will progress to the Games themselves; even, hopefully, winning a medal. There will be further projects targeting social inclusion issues through sport, and also enabling greater access for women moving into sport. The six separate projects in total will run from the 1st of july 2006 through to the 31st of July 2008, and are funded through the ESF and the Learning and Skills Council (LS C).

Good News for Development

The College’s Principal, John Blake, said: “This is great news for the development of the sports and recreation sector and together with the 2012 Games will bring both economic and community benefits to the whole of the South East. The College will now be able to tailor individual training to meet the needs of diverse learning groups within this sector.

“The 2012 Games are stimulating an increase in sports participation which will quickly feed into increased demand for qualified coaches and managers and it is important that this is met,” he went on. “Sussex Downs is the ideal college to oversee this as it has the skills, expertise and facilities to coordinate this at a local and regional level.”

Jethro Marsh

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