Coach Core is an apprenticeship programme targeting 16-24 year olds who are not in education or employment (NEETs). It delivers an inclusive and impactful sports and activity coaching apprenticeship that develops the talents of young people and provides them with a range of vital skills for employment and life.
Active Sussex have partnered up with Coach Core and now have a number of employers signed up to the programme in Sussex. Here we are sharing one employer’s experience with the apprenticeship programme. We spoke to India Phillips from Marina Dance Studios about the programme and how it has positively impacted them as an organisation.
Marina Dance Studios
Marina Dance Studio is the dance destination of the South, providing a versatile dance timetable to Sussex and beyond. With world class choreographers, starting from styles of tap, jazz, streetdance, latin, commercial and more.
What made you consider taking on an apprentice?
The pandemic was tough, like it was for everyone. We had to stop all our classes and we had to adapt and be creative. It was really hard at the start thinking how are we going to do it, how can we keep our staff happy and continue to engage our participants, but we adapted really well and came out stronger at the other end.
We were in a position coming out of the pandemic where we needed to expand our workforce. The main thing was to give someone an opportunity but I am passionate about coaching, educating and developing people, so as development manager it was an exciting proposition for me. It felt like a good opportunity to work with an organisation with similar values to ourselves in Coach Core.
The benefits of having a funded apprenticeship is really important as a small charity, we wouldn’t necessarily have the funding to employ another member of staff so it is really exciting to be able to take an apprentice and it expands our horizons for workforce development.
What are the benefits of the Coach Core programme?
The perks of doing it through Coach Core is their knowledge and expertise in apprenticeships, which was vital for us because we had not taken an apprentice on before. The knowledge and support has been invaluable because we probably wouldn’t have the capacity and reach to find out, therefore without it we probably would not have been able to take on an apprentice.
I’m Georgia’s mentor and first port of call for anything. It has been really beneficial for me and I have learnt a lot, it has really developed me as a manager. You get used to working with the same people so when you have someone new and younger in the mix, it can take a different approach and you need to use different skills.
What has the experience been like?
Our apprentice, Georgia, has settled in really well and it has been great to have a fresh face to work with, she has got on well with the team and out there learning and bringing new ideas to the team. Obviously, as with any new employee, there have some hurdles but nothing other than normal teething problems.
Georgia has been focussing on the YES project, which takes street dance into the local community. She has been a dance teacher on that programme and has been developing her dancing and teaching skills with one of our experienced dance teachers. This has helped her understand high quality dance teaching, how to plan, how to count music, how to work with kids, how to manage challenging behaviour, and all those things. She has also been coordinating the YES project and we are giving her more responsibilities with that programme.
The young people really engage with Georgia, her passion and enthusiasm really resonates with them because they see how much she loves dance and it inspires them to think ‘I want to be like that!’. One of the main aims of that project is to keep young people active and engaged so having someone like Georgia, who is so keen and excited about her role, really helps.
She has taken on everything that everyone has asked of her and really chucking herself into it, which is a success story in itself!
How has the support from Coach Core and Active Sussex helped?
The support from Coach Core and Active Sussex has been amazing, it has really helped us to give Georgia the support she needs.
The education day works really well because it gives us some time to reflect on Georgia’s work, plan her work programme and identify areas where she may need additional support. Georgia comes back from the education day with knowledge and skills that perhaps we can’t give her or haven’t thought of before, because we are managing a large team.
The support we have received has been really helpful.
To read Georgia’s story click here