As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we are highlighting some our staff who joined the Foundation as apprentices and have become crucial to our success.
Aaron joined Foundation of Light in 2009 as a Business Administration Apprentice when he was 17 and now heads up our Premier League Primary Stars delivery in Primary Schools across the North East.
“I came into contact with the Foundation through an apprenticeship scheme,” he says. “On the job training seemed better for me as I wanted a change from the classroom and school environment and felt doing an apprenticeship in an adult workplace would give me the life skills and people skills to benefit me long term.”
Working alongside an experienced mentor, Aaron gained the qualifications and confidence to deliver sport and PE in schools alongside office-based tasks such as course registers and planning and preparation of sessions.
The biggest impact the apprenticeship had on me was being able to deal with customers and colleagues as well as daily challenges or situations in work life.
I accessed these things a lot earlier than I would have if I had gone to college or university.
He adds: “I travelled through to the Foundation’s outreach site at Washington Millenium Centre, where I worked alongside a coaching mentor who constantly gave me feedback and the chance to improve and learn.
“There were key role models in the Foundation I took things from regarding professionalism, teamwork, positivity, passion and enthusiasm, things I have tried to instill in my own standards and in how I approach work and life.”
An opportunity came up for Aaron to become a trainee coach and his passion for sport made the decision to transfer to the Foundation’s Football Development department an easy one.
“During my apprenticeship I also completed my Level 1 and Level 2 Football Coaching which was a necessity to the path I wanted to go down,” he says. “I was involved in trips abroad coaching which were great experiences to be part of and learn from.
“I always had a sporty background, particularly in football and when the opportunity arose I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
In his nine years with the Foundation, Aaron has progressed to coordinating the delivery of Premier League Primary Stars, a national curriculum-linked education programme which uses the appeal professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.
“Premier League Primary Stars programme is ultimately is any of the delivery the Foundation does in primary schools,” Aaron adds. “Within this role I mentor all of our delivery staff and complete observations on them throughout the year.
“I deliver and organise the CPD training that our delivery staff do on a weekly basis every Friday morning as well as organising our Matchday Experiences.”
Joining the Foundation as an apprentice has also given Aaron the skills and opportunities to develop his coaching career further, joining Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light in 2013.
He says: “I work with the Under 9’s-Under 11’s age groups part time as well as leading on Futsal delivery and coaching a number of age groups, including the Under 14’s.
“I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship as it has given the platform to pursue, progress and develop in ways I wanted to personally, that also suited the business.
“It is something to consider for any school leavers who want further their education in an on-the-job environment and also those who want to develop a range of important life skills which are vital for any job out there.”
To find out how our apprenticeships can help you gain valuable employment skills and experience, please email email@example.com or call 0191 5515191.
6 March 2018