National Apprenticeship Week 2018: Pioneering Loughborough College School Sport Apprenticeship success

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Students from the pioneering Loughborough College School Sport Apprenticeship initiative have been sharing just some of their success stories to mark the opening of 2018's National Apprenticeship Week.

The award-winning programme was created by Loughborough College – which was recently awarded Outstanding for its apprenticeships by education watchdog Ofsted – and has been praised for its role in inspiring and motivating young people in 17 primary and secondary schools.

Laura Dexter, Danny Bray, Charlotte Harvey and Josh Taylor are amongst the apprentices trained by Loughborough College to assist with lessons, lead lunchtime and after-school clubs, organize and deliver competitive sport and sports event and to develop community links - with their schools so impressed with the difference they have made to pupils that they are already in talks to continue working with them beyond their apprenticeships.

Danny, 18, has been helping a student with cerebral palsy gain confidence and another come to terms with losing while clubs he’s set up and supported have helped boost participation in sport at the school by 50% since his arrival.

‘The student with cerebral palsy is not only physically stronger but because they are able to participate they’ve grown in confidence. I’ve taught the other student techniques to avoid storming off in anger and we now see grace in defeat with handshakes and even help with putting away equipment.

“I also set up a boxing club and I’ve now got 16 students doing it before school. Across the board I see all ages and all abilities getting involved and getting so much out of sport – the teachers even say it makes a big difference to performance in the classroom.”

And Danny admits his school sport apprenticeship at Desford Community Primary School has made an impact on him as well: “I feel I’ve really risen to the responsibilities and am hoping to join the school after my apprenticeship finishes, becoming a teacher myself one day.”

Laura, 19, is at Limehurst Academy in Loughborough and has also enjoyed watching numbers grow at clubs she has set up. “The students are telling their friends who are telling their friends and they’re coming along to things like the fitness club I established, which enables 11 and 12 year old children who are currently too young to go to an adult gym to keep active and establish great habits at a time when many of them give up on sport.

“It’s also fantastic to be able to offer support with school teams and inPE lessons so children who are struggling or who need more focused input can get that and will consequently not be left out, will improve and will enjoy taking part.

“I find it so rewarding to be able to make such a difference and help these young people get opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m now determined to become a PE teacher.”

Like Danny, Josh, who’s 19, hopes to remain at his school - Belvoirdale Primary School in Coalville. “I’ve been helping with inclusion sports like Boccia and Curling and I went on a course to introduce the students to archery. Children who never normally join in have been excited by these new opportunities and they’re joining the clubs, making friends and seeming so much happier. I’ve really enjoyed being able to play a part in that and it would be great to stay on and carry on building on that.”

Charlotte, 19, describes even the seemingly little things making a huge difference during her apprenticeship at St Peter’s Primary School in Earl Shilton. “There was a small child at breaktime who I noticed couldn’t bounce a basketball and I gave them a bit of one on one and by the end of break they had really got the hang of it and couldn’t stop smiling. To be able to do that is amazing.

“I also help with swimming lessons so children can get extra attention and I support a new Big Moves initiative which takes children who for example slump at their desk or struggle in learning to write because they haven’t got the muscle tone for the posture or position which will help them. We work with them to improve their core support and this helps them in lessons as well as with running and throwing.

“I go home at the end of every day and I can’t stop talking to my mum and dad about it all. I never imagined how rewarding it would be to be a school sport apprentice.”

Loughborough Sport Development Manager Rob Jarram added: “National Apprenticeship week is about celebrating the impact of apprenticeships on their relevant industries as well as the impact they have on young people and their careers.

“Our School Sport Apprenticeship continues to demonstrate this to a very high level with so many success stories throughout each year we deliver the programme.

“Our focus is increasingly on the health and wellbeing agenda, as directed by the Department of Health and I believe our apprenticeship programme develops the young people we train to help schools to deliver high quality support and provision in this area of their pupils’ development.”

Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan has commented on how the quality and diversity of PE teaching is improved, “boosting children’s participation in sport, encouraging healthier lifestyles and inspiring confidence in young people” with the initiative also offering not only the opportunity of an apprenticeship but also “a chance to take the first steps towards a rewarding career.”

Some schools involved with the Loughborough College initiative have been so happy they have taken on two apprentices - last year eight of the schools gave their apprentice a job while the others were offered positions, including with coaching companies, and five went on to study for a degree.

Pictured (left to right): Loughborough College School Sport Apprentices Josh Taylor, Laura Dexter, Charlotte Harvey and Danny Bray

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