From education to employment

Hoops’ star midfielder has sights on a new goal to mark National Apprenticeship Week

2 guys playing football one is for oxford

At the weekend, he is the beating heart of Oxford City FC’s midfield playing under Hoops’ Head Coach Ross Jenkins in the National League – non-league football’s highest tier.

But outside his responsibilities on the pitch, semi-professional footballer Josh Ashby is a lead coach with Velocity Football and Ignite Sport and studies an apprenticeship to broaden his skills and knowledge of the job.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, the 27-year-old midfielder is encouraging more organisations to understand the power of modern-day apprenticeships and how they are fit for people of all ages and experiences working across multiple sectors.

Josh currently blends his time in a Hoops shirt with training and coaching commitments, and later this year will complete a Level 4 Sports Coach apprenticeship – equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree.

The qualification teaches learners how to use their existing knowledge and skills of session planning to create and deliver coaching programmes.

It represents a different challenge to preparing for fixtures against historic clubs including Oldham Athletic, Southend United and Rochdale. But Josh believes more people his age and older can benefit from enrolling onto a vocational qualification.

Josh said:

“Growing up, the dream was to play football professionally,”

“I’ve had so many great opportunities with my previous clubs, and right now at Oxford City FC where I’ve been for almost six years.

“Coaching was something I hadn’t considered before moving here. Now, I’m working with participants of all ages and gaining the qualifications required so I’m well-equipped for a career in coaching when my playing days are over.

“I have no intentions of hanging up my boots – but you’ve got to think beyond playing football as careers are short and can end at any point.”

Celebrating its 17th year in 2024, National Apprenticeship Week shines a light on the value, benefits and opportunities they bring to people and employers.

This year’s theme is ‘Skills for Life’ – and Josh stressed modern-day apprenticeships are tailored for people of all ages and at all stages of their careers.

Josh said:

“I signed my first professional contract 10 years ago – I never expected then that I’d be studying an apprenticeship a decade later,”

“A lot of people misunderstand what apprenticeships are – including myself before I enrolled.

“Courses range from being the equivalent of an A-Level right up to a master’s degree and are available for pretty much every job role going.

“I’m fortunate to work with Ignite Sport who believe in apprenticeships and staff development, and I’d encourage other employers in the county to do the same. Without studying an apprenticeship, climbing the career ladder outside of my role on the pitch would be much harder.”

Josh’s Level 4 Sports Coach apprenticeship is delivered by Oxford City FC and Ignite Sport’s sister company Ignite Training. It specialises in apprenticeship delivery and training by providing courses in coaching, teaching, management, content production and marketing.

Further information about Ignite Training and its qualifications is available here.

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