From education to employment

Coach Core study highlights the importance of apprenticeships to re-engage young people with formal systems of employment and education.

Two people standing on grass, throwing a ball

Coach Core – the national charity using sport and apprenticeships to change young lives – recently commissioned a piece of independent, academic research as an evaluation of its programme.

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.

Coach Core Apprentice with Olympian and Coach Core ambassador Max Whitlock

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 breadth of apprenticeship qualifications, offering people the chance to train at something they feel passionate about, when they may have disengaged with school.

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

You can download the full report here:

About Coach Core

Coach Core is an employment and education charity that uses the long-term power of sport and apprenticeships to change the lives of young adults across the UK experiencing barriers, discrimination, and lack of opportunities. 

It has supported 187 sporting and physical activity sector organisations to employ a young person as an apprentice, starting them a career path with passion and purpose. The charity’s work with these employers enables more sport and physical activity to take place in disadvantaged communities, delivered by relatable role models, making for happier and healthier populations. 

Coach Core began as a programme at The Royal Foundation in 2012, as part of the legacy of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was shaped by seeing the devastation of the 2011 London riots and the Centre for Social Justice’s report that followed on how best to harness the power of sport to transform the lives of young people. What began as a single pilot programme has grown to 17 sites across the UK and over 700 apprentices through the last 10 years. 

In 2020, Coach Core became an independent charity and, in 2021, launched its new strategy to provide more opportunities than ever before.

Find out more about Coach Core at: and get in touch via: [email protected] 

Related Articles