Back in 2011, the riots were still fresh in the mind, and my peers and I that had come from challenging upbringings ourselves wanted to do something to disrupt the cycle.

We were working every day with the most at risk young people trying to give them positive exit routes, but sadly accepting that their life chances were always going to be limited due to the number of barriers they would have to overcome. And yet, at the same time, we would be bemoaning the fact that the transient nature of sport and coaching means its very hard to keep a consistent assistant coach workforce. Then it hit us – if we use the vehicle of apprenticeships, we create a ‘triple threat’ model:

  • The young people will gain meaningful qualifications and experience as they ‘earn while they learn’, but we also get to shape and mould a programme of mentoring and support around them to keep them on the right path.
  • The employer gains new, diverse talent from the local community in which we were trying to affect the change we wanted to see. Those organisations would also get to connect, collaborate, and learn from other employers and build powerful networks that benefit all parties too.
  • The community gains relatable young role models who are bringing much needed sport and physical activity to areas that typically have multiple barriers to access high quality, regular coaching in this way.

Building this innovative apprenticeship model, in 2012, Coach Core was born!

Coach Core is a social mobility charity here to provide under-represented young people with a chance to engage in a career pathway that not only changes their lives but also positively impacts the community around them too.

We started as a programme for 20 targeted young people in London but today we are now an independent charity that:

  • operates in 19 cities around the UK,
  • works with over 250 employers from across the sector,
  • is now fast approaching our 1000 th apprentice!

Critically, these community facing apprentices have gone on to enable physical activity for over 12 million participants in the last decade, all in the communities that need this most.

For me, these big statistics are amazing, but it will always be about that individual apprentice and their journey. Our young people are overcoming significant barriers and challenges in their lives (we’ve literally seen it all!) and yet they never cease to amaze us with their desire to not only change their lives but be a positive impact on the people around them too.

Over a decade on, we are still motivated by the same ethos of ultimately creating more career pathways for young people who need the opportunity the most. Our 2024-2027 strategy will see us offer more apprenticeships as ever before, but we also want to continue to provide support, advice and guidance to anyone who wants it. As a truly collaborative- convening charity, we are always interested in growing the employers interested in working with us directly, but we are equally happy to support an increasing number of organisations and governing bodies that are keen to simply learn more about how best to attract, recruit and retain a very different talent pool.

The mission continues! If you’d like to learning more about our work, visit www.coachcore.org.uk.