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Youth career prospects boosted through peer to peer sports coaching

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Tracey Neville MBE (@traceynev) backs new initiative to support young sports coaches in deprived communities (@leedsbeckett)

Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain & Ireland (SBF GB&I), the makers of brands including Lucozade Sport, is supporting the next generation of young coaches with the launch of ‘Coach the Coaches’. The new initiative is backed by former England international netball player and former England Head coach Tracey Neville MBE.

Coach the Coaches is a new peer-to-peer coaching programme, created in partnership with youth mentoring and life skills training platform Apprentice Nation and sport for development charity Active Communities Network to help young coaches unlock their potential. The initiative launches as a new study from Leeds Beckett University concludes that sport can be a catalyst for improving 16-24 year olds’ lives by making them more determined to develop life skills, pursue volunteering and work. 

Tracey Neville MBE comments:

I strongly believe that all young people deserve the same opportunities. Coach the Coaches is an important initiative which will help them build confidence and unlock their potential as sports mentors for other young adults. We can’t underestimate the value of having strong mentors, who better understand and can advocate for younger people, but they also need to have the right coaching in place to support them too.”

Coach the Coaches will run in some of the most deprived areas in cities across the UK, including London, Manchester, Belfast, Hull and Newport to provide 16-24 year olds with the mentoring skills needed to help others to build life skills and get involved in physical activity. With all 60 coaches going on to mentor others following the programme, Active Communities Network estimate Coach the Coaches will support 1,200 young people in deprived areas over the course of 18 months. The programme will be delivered through immersive one-day workshops with theory and practical exercises to help coaches identify and overcome challenges that may occur when mentoring. Following the workshop, coaches will receive official certification and further support to continue their development. 

The initiative builds on the success of B Active, SBF GB&I’s peer-to-peer sports-for-development programme run in partnership with Active Communities Network, which helped the development of 10,703 young adults living in the five cities. Results from the study published by Leeds Beckett University* showed almost three quarters (74%) of 16-24 year olds saw their career prospects boosted due to their engagement in the scheme. In addition, 94% of participants said they thought the programme had been a positive turning point in their lives. A key recommendation from the study was that young sports mentors need a support network to deliver a long-term impact.

Of the 10,000 participants, 3,699 young people went on to take up opportunities to volunteer in their local communities and 2,312 achieved accreditation in vocationally recognised qualifications. 

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Michelle Norman, Director of External Affairs and Sustainability at SBF GB&I commented:

“16-24 year olds need all the support they can get in a challenging jobs market. Covid-19 has disrupted youth education and working-life, increasing social isolation and further exacerbating the situation for those in deprived areas. The Coach the Coaches programme will give aspiring coaches increased resilience and the people skills they need to make a success of their chosen career path in the sports industry and make a positive long-term impact in their communities”.

Oliur Rahman, CEO of Active Communities Network said:

“We believe everyone should have the same opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background. The results from the B Active programme really show how physical activity can have a positive impact on the lives of young people living in socioeconomically deprived areas. It’s reassuring to see that young people felt happier and more motivated through their participation and we hope this is something that continues with Coach the Coaches which aims to provide that key support network for young coaches.” 

Stephen Greene CBE, CEO RockCorps and Producer of Apprentice Nation said:

“For anyone to succeed these days, getting access to the right guidance, advice and training is key. Mentoring has a powerful role to play in this; every one of us has valuable experience and advice that we can share to support others on their journey but sometimes it’s difficult to know how to unlock, communicate and share that knowledge. This is where Coach the Coaches is such a valuable programme – building a network that empowers people to have the confidence to share their knowledge and experience with a wider community through mentorship; ultimately helping others to grow, develop and achieve personal life goals. And critically, one of the beautiful things about mentoring is that it truly is a two-way exchange. Everyone benefits.”

Leeds Beckett University concluded that continual professional development was key moving forwards and as a result SBF GB&I is now investing in the amateur coaches who are responsible for delivering the peer-to-peer coaching within the community. Coach the Coaches will be delivered in partnership between Apprentice Nation and Active Communities Network and will provide a lasting legacy for the work done with B Active.

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