National Apprenticeships Week: How my apprenticeship provided invaluable, hands-on experience

To mark the 10th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week, AoC Sport is celebrating sport apprentices and the positive impact they have in their colleges and communities.

While the apprenticeship reform provides an opportunity for colleges to develop new provision and build new relationships, at AoC Sport we are reflecting on some of the excellent practice currently happening in colleges. We will also share some profiles of how apprentices have progressed into employment.

To continue the week, we spoke to Sussex FA’s Children and Young People Football Development Officer, Michael Ryan.

What apprenticeship framework did you complete?

I completed a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Development whilst employed at Worthing College in West Sussex.

Why did you choose to go down this route?

After completing a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence at South Downs College (Hampshire), I was faced with the decision that many young people debate between choosing to go to university or embarking within the world of work. After careful consideration with trusted friends and family, I made the decision to complete an apprenticeship which I believed would provide me valuable industry experience whilst furthering my qualifications. Sport and Physical Education has always been a passion of mine and a career pathway that I was keen to explore.

How did an apprenticeship help you develop?

I was very fortunate that in the time I worked as an apprentice I was granted a large amount of responsibility by my line manager, Tina Price. Tina was a great support, encouraging me to be independent in the projects that I delivered, strategically minded in the outsourced funding opportunities I accessed and taking time to assist the development of my transferable skills. I was also very lucky to be mentored one-to-one with our curriculum team leader, Paul Cox.  Paul, now operating as Vice Principal at Lambeth College, taught me the reality of the working world. I credit much of his teachings to successes that I have had within my employment to date.

How did the apprenticeship help you get your job in the FA, and how has it helped you in your current role?

During my time at Worthing College, one of our greatest successes was the girls’ football community satellite club that was introduced in partnership with Worthing Town FC. As part of my role I managed the satellite club resulting in engagement with over 200 young females aged 11-16, whilst upskilling eight of our student volunteers with Level 2 coaching qualifications. The satellite club was used as an example of national best practice and provided an excellent tool to present at my interview. My short introduction to the full-time working environment provided invaluable, hands-on experience, combined with excellent senior staff support helped to build a great foundation for my first year at the Sussex County Football Association.