The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have given the royal seal of approval to Essex’s next generation of sports coaches after meeting apprentices and graduates from the Coach Core Essex apprenticeship scheme at Basildon Sporting Village. Coach Core is part of the Royal Foundation which is the primary philanthropic and charitable vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Coach Core arrived in Essex three years ago with Active Essex curating a group of employees committed to the Royal Foundations thinking that sport can help empower young people aged 16-24, not in education or employment, by providing opportunities to become the next generation of top sports coaches. The event marked the first Royal visit to see the Coach Core Essex scheme in action.
Apprentices receive technical and holistic coaching skills, with a strong focus on employability through their work with local sports clubs and organisations which help them build relationships to develop their careers. The apprenticeship programme in Essex is managed by Active Essex, the county sports partnership for Greater Essex.
During the visit to Basildon Sporting Village, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge learned how Coach Core Essex is engaging a diverse local community through sport. They met with apprentices from two partner organisations: Sport for Confidence and South Essex Gymnastics Club, which have both been involved with the scheme since its inception and employed several apprentices. They also met graduates from Chelmsford Athletics and Prosports Solutions, both of whom have been supporting apprentices on the programme for two years.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took part in a series of coaching masterclasses delivered by current apprentices and graduates across a number of sports, including tennis, indoor athletics, and boccia.
Their Royal Highnesses also watched national-standard gymnasts in training in the gymnastics centre, home to South Essex Gymnastics Club, as well as a pre-school session run by Coach Core apprentices and graduates.
Azeem Akhtar, Chair of Active Essex, said: “It was an incredible honour and experience to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Essex and let them see for themselves the impact the Coach Core Apprenticeship Scheme is having across our county.
“The apprenticeship programme not only equips young people with the skills and leadership qualities to work in different areas of the growing sports and leisure industry locally, but it also opens the door for some fantastic and unique experiences in which they can become strong role models and mentors in their communities.”
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education & Skills, said: “It was a fantastic privilege to welcome The Duke and Duchess to Essex and provide the royal seal of approval to the Coach Core Essex Apprenticeship which is changing dozens of lives every year through the power of sport and providing long-lasting social-economic benefits to communities.”
Ashley Jenkinson, aged 23, a Coach Core apprentice at Achievement Through Football, said; “The coach core programme has given me a lot of confidence and helped me develop my coaching skills to fulfil my ambition of becoming a football coach. Today was a great achievement to meet the royals and I’m looking forward to the rest of my apprenticeship.”
Established by The Royal Foundation in 2012, Coach Core aims to harness the power of sport, and its ability to change lives and empower young people. Driven by a desire to build upon the legacy of the Olympic Games, Coach Core was created by The Royal Foundation to inspire young people, who are not in education or employment through sport, and create the next generation of sports coaches who will themselves go on to inspire their communities for many generations to come.