From education to employment

Teenage sports coach goes back to the classroom by beginning an apprenticeship – and he’s doing it with his dad!

Sebastian Hamilton, Founder and CEO of Sporting Elite CIC

Sebastian Hamilton, Founder and CEO of Sporting Elite CIC

A Birmingham sports coach employed by the business his father founded has entered new territory by signing up to an apprenticeship – and his dad is joining him in the classroom too!

Rio Hamilton enrolled onto a Level 2 Community Activator Coach course while father Sebastian is studying a Level 5 Learning and Skills qualification – equivalent to a foundation degree.

It comes nine years after Sebastian founded Sporting Elite CIC with the pair’s enrolment coinciding with the 17th annual National Apprenticeship Week which celebrates the value, benefits and opportunities apprenticeships bring to learners and employers.

Based in Birmingham but operating across the west midlands, Sporting CIC collaborates with schools and the police to deliver community sports activities, PE lessons and mentoring sessions for young people to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The father and son duo now work closely with Oxford-based registered training provider Ignite Training who deliver the educational arm of both apprenticeships.

Sebastian said studying with his 18-year-old son was not something he predicted when launching the company. But at the same time, he is pleased to invest in personal development with two other members of staff enrolled onto a vocational qualification.

“I could never have imagined I’d be studying with my son,” said Sebastian. “But here we are – and we’re developing together at the same company despite having completely different levels of experience.

“Many people misunderstand apprenticeships and believe they only serve a purpose to young people following a specific career path. But we’re proof this stereotype can be challenged and modern-day apprenticeships suit businesses from all sectors and employees at all stages of their careers.

“A lot of kids who may have difficulties at home or behavioural challenges can end up involved in anti-social behaviour, which is where Sporting Elite CIC helps. We want kids to understand the impact these things can have later on in life by providing a positive alternative through our sports sessions.”

At the end of the last academic year, more than 750,000 people in England were engaged with an apprenticeship.

Almost half of learners (48%) were aged 25 or older while 16-18-year-olds accounted for less than a third (29%) of apprentices.

As CEO of Sporting Elite CIC, Sebastian explained apprenticeships provided a strategic way to ensuring staff are optimally equipped to expand the services they offer.

He added: “From a business point of view, apprenticeships have been a game-changer.

“They have allowed us to do so much more, including delivering sports sessions and PE lessons in schools with kids of all ages.

“Overall, this has helped strengthen our offering and deliver on our ambition of making a positive impact on young lives locally.”

Sorcha Murphy, Business Development Manager at Ignite Training, added :

“Sebastian and Rio are great examples of our firm belief that apprenticeships are suitable for everyone- no matter of a person’s age or career stage.

“With businesses able to access apprenticeship levy funds, apprenticeships are a cost-effective way to invest in the professional development of staff who can deliver real results with impact.”

Further information about Ignite Training’s apprenticeship provisions which support careers in coaching, teaching, leadership, marketing, content production and more are available via

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