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Coach The Coach Graduates Awarded Foundation Apprenticeships

Newcastle United Foundation recently welcomed Coach the Coach Graduates Rob Hodgson and Lee Blackburn to the staff as they took up their positions as Apprentice Coaches. 

As part of the 25 week Coach the Coach programme, which is run in partnership with Newcastle College, students benefit from football training alongside competitive elements and qualifications.

Generally, students spend 2-3 days studying at Newcastle College and two days with the Foundation, working alongside coaching staff.

By the end of the programme graduates have achieved their FA Level 1 Award, Emergency First Aid qualification, Safeguarding Children Award and a BTEC Level 2 or 3 in Sports Coaching, Sports Development and Sport Fitness. 

Importantly, they are also mentored by and taken on work experience with Foundation coaches.  Everyone that passes the course is guaranteed an interview with the Foundation. 

Coaches were particularly impressed by Rob, 19 from Morpeth, and Lee, 20 from Prudhoe, who were both offered a coaching apprenticeships. 

Liam Atkin, Newcastle United Foundation Football Development Coach, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Rob and Lee to the team.  They were real leaders within the group throughout the course and really impressed us in the interview stage too.  They continued to push themselves out of their comfort zones over the 25 weeks and seized every opportunity that they were given.  Every week they showed the staff that they were working with that they were capable, committed and enthusiastic about a career in coaching. 

“They are both good coaches, but with different qualities. Rob is quite adventurous while Lee has a more traditional approach – both are incredibly hard workers.  This course doesn’t just build these young people as coaches, we develop them as people too.”

On joining the Foundation Rob said: “When I first signed up for the course, getting a job out of it seemed a very distant prospect.  But the more I got in to the project the more I loved what I was doing and suddenly getting a job where I could do coaching for a living became my top priority. 

“It hasn’t just been about learning coaching techniques, the course has helped develop social skills too – my time keeping improved and I definitely feel more confident which shows in my coaching.”

Lee added, “I was already working when I found out about the course on Twitter but I decided to go to the Open Day to find out more – I’m glad that I did!  Being involved in a professional environment is fantastic and I’d say that if you love football it’s a fantastic course to get involved with.  How many other courses guarantee you an interview at the end?”

“The guidance you get from the coaches throughout the course is really helpful” continued Rob, “it helps you develop your own style.  At the same time you’re encouraged to figure things out for yourself.  I loved my work experience at Seghill School.  The teachers really made me feel like part of the team and for them and Mick [Foundation Coach] to put their trust in me to take sessions was fantastic.”

“Our job isn’t just to find the next Foundation Apprentices”, commented Liam, “we’re creating pathways and setting building blocks in place for the future.  When we’re recruiting we’re thinking years ahead – who has the talent to challenge me for my role or be the next Football Development Manager or the next Academy Coach.  If you work hard enough, the opportunities are endless.”

Stephen Ireland,Section Manager Sport & Exercise at Newcastle College added, “It is fantastic to see that during the first year of the course it has produced two talented and employable students.  Within The Lifestyle Academy we aim to work with industry and students to meet the needs of both and this course thanks to the help of Newcastle United Foundation does exactly this.  Everything we do has to lead to a career and for this to happen we need to be working with organisations like the Foundation to help develop the next generation of workforce.”

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