From education to employment

Launch of Latest Programme Sees Apprenticeship Sectors Newest Addition

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence was launched recently at Twickenham Stadium by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning.

Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn MP, and Minister for Skills, Phil Hope MP led the launch and are personally backing the Apprenticeship, which is designed to promote sporting excellence in Cricket, Tennis, Aquatic Sports and Rugby Union. Several big names from the world of sports attended the event to lend their support for the scheme. Famous sporting personalities who were there included Olympic swimmer, Steve Parry, and former England number one tennis ace, Jeremy Bates. Latest England hopeful Theo Walcott himself was a Sporting Apprentice.

Design for Excellence

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence was designed to develop the skills and knowledge athletes require to compete successfully in their chosen sports. It is exclusively available to young people who have an excellent chance of making a career through competing in their chosen sport. It is anticipated that approximately 100 young men and women will begin their Apprenticeship in each sport during the course of the first year.

There has already been a successful tradition of the apprenticeship in football, so drawing on this experience, the scheme will also provide learners with a broader education to help ensure that each individual has the skills needed to be successful in an industry outside of full time competition. In addition, the curriculum will include training targeted specifically at those who will go on to represent their country, with modules on subjects such as sportsmanship and how to handle the pressures that success can bring.

Beyond 2012

Speaking at the event, Richard Caborn said: “Being a professional sports person in the 21st Century is about more than just athletic prowess and sporting skill. You also need to know how to manage your lifestyle and career off the sporting field. I am delighted that through the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence framework there is now a structure in place to support the professional development of our most hopeful young sporting prospects. This is especially important in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics Games and beyond.”

Welcoming the pilot, Skills Minister Phil Hope said: “Under this Government we have seen the re-birth of Apprenticeships. Over a quarter of a million young people are engaged on courses and this figure is rising all the time. With several sports now involved in advanced apprenticeships we want to reach out to as many more as possible. The pilot this year will offer these in sports such as tennis, cricket, basketball, boxing and aquatics.

“Sport by its nature is highly competitive and not all talented young athletes who start their programmes will complete them,” he continued. “SkillsActive and the LSC have been working to give would-be professionals a sustainable career but with the chance to train in a second. We want to ensure their security and give them a safety net in areas such as sports coaching and other related specialisations.”

Stephen Gardner, Director of Apprenticeships at the LSC, said at the event: “With Apprenticeship programmes currently covering over 200 frameworks in 80 employment sectors, this is a welcome addition to the already hugely successful Apprenticeship family. AASE will have a major impact on the development of young athletes across a range of competitive sports and, perhaps more importantly, will prepare those who are not successful in sustaining a professional sporting career to excel in an alternative profession.”

Paul Keely

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