The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme.
The WRU Coach Core Apprenticeship, which was launched by The Duke of Cambridge last autumn, has already enabled an initial cohort of young people to gain accredited apprenticeship qualifications along with practical, on-the-job skills over the past 10 months and many of them have already secured employment or places in higher education following their completion of the apprenticeship in September.
The WRU is now looking to recruit 12 new apprentices for next season’s programme, which will be extended into the Ospreys region, along with the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons rugby areas. The new apprentices will work with and be supported by WRU Rugby Coordinators and School Club Hub Officers and mentored in their development by the WRU Coach Core Link Officer.
The candidates must be aged between 18 and 24, enthusiastic about working with young people within their community and passionate about sport. The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will continue to support the programme, and the Level 3 NVQ Certificate and Diploma in Sports Development, the first of its kind to be delivered in Wales, is delivered by learning provider NPTC Group of Colleges and funded by the Welsh Government.
WRU Coach Core manager Carl Scales said, “The apprentices have made huge progress since the programme was launched in October. They’ve gained valuable coaching and rugby development skills, but their personal development has also been hugely significant, from communication and confidence to employability. Many of them would admit they didn’t really know what they wanted to do beforehand, but they now have real direction in their lives.”
Jess Hancock, who will take up a place on the Foundation Degree in Rugby Coaching and Development at University of South Wales, along with two of the other graduates of the WRU programme – Dan White and Kyle Raubenhaimer – said, “The WRU Coach Core apprenticeship has given me a massive confidence boost and especially improved my communication skills. I’ve always wanted to work in sport but I definitely don’t think I could’ve achieved my potential without having gone through this programme.”
Owen Young has been appointed as a rugby officer at Ysgol Garth Olwg, starting in September. He spent time at Mountain Ash Comprehensive during the past school year. He said, “The WRU apprenticeship has certainly given me the experience and qualification I needed to enable me to gain this role.
“The programme opens many doors, not purely within the world of rugby, you could go down any sporting route after completing the year. It hasn’t been all plain sailing – but that was made very clear to us from the start – it’s not just rugby coaching which is what I was used to. I didn’t do very well in school, but the support we’ve been given has helped me achieve an important qualification which was vital in gaining employment.
“My biggest achievement during the year was establishing girls rugby at Mountain Ash comp. Until then there hadn’t been any girls’ teams at the school, but there was clearly an appetite and my fellow apprentice Cameron Douglas and I, with the help of Anthony Palmer, our apprentice link officer, worked hard to set up touch teams and festivals and now there are girls’ teams in every year group.”
Scales added, “We would encourage any young person who thinks a rugby apprenticeship may be for them, to apply, come along to the assessment day and give it a go. There is so much to gain for the benefit of themselves and Welsh rugby, they will achieve things they didn’t think possible and feel so proud of themselves.”
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The Apprenticeship programme delivered by NPTC of Colleges and led by the Welsh Government, is supported by the European Social Fund.