FA Staff Complete Postgraduate Qualification with University of Worcester

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Staff from the Football Association have been taking part in a postgraduate qualification with the University of Worcester to enhance their coaching skills.

The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Sports Coaching is delivered at St George’s Park, the national football centre, by University staff.

Fifteen FA staff are now nearing the completion of their qualification, while a further 12 have just begun their studies and will be mentored by the first cohort.

The FA staff are undertaking three modules of work, including coaching philosophy and practice, leading and managing in sport, and professional placement, which comprised a specific FA project.

With participants vastly experienced in their respective fields, the course aimed to share coaching knowledge, best practice and aid professional development.

Tony McCallum, ?National Coach Development Manager at the FA, is one of those currently completing the course.

“It’s certainly helped me and my understanding of why we do what we do in terms of coach education and teaching. It’s been hugely beneficial for me in the job,” he said.

“All 15 of us work within the grassroots unit but serve the department in different ways. I think that cross-team working, where somebody with experience of teaching in a school, compared to someone with experience of mentoring and in addition, someone with experience of coaching or coach education, you start to see some real transfer of understanding.

“There’s definitely been a good exchange in ideas across the department.”

Dr Andy Cale and Dr Don Vinson, from the University, who both have extensive experience of working with elite level sport and high-level coaches, delivered the programme.

Dr Cale said: “The FA are to be congratulated on their ongoing support for the professional development of its senior staff both in terms of coach development and personal growth. This cohort have brought a fantastic depth of personal experience and have applied academic theory to their daily practice.

“They have developed the ability to professionally reflect and question key areas that underpin successful coach education and development. They have been great students who have demonstrated a passion for learning and a genuine commitment to their continuous professional development.”

Dr Vinson added: “One of our principal aims was to help this expert group of coach educators and mentors better understand the evidence which underpins the profession.

“The group have wholeheartedly embraced the challenge of engaging with research evidence and also to produce academic work – some for the first time in many years.

“The group have consistently reported that this course has positively impacted their professional roles on a day-to-day basis and we are delighted to be able to help these individuals develop their practice for the betterment of the thousands of coaches they ultimately support across grassroots football in the UK.”