A scheme to prepare pupils for a future in sports management has received national backing.

Successful delivery of the Sports Leader programme by Renfrewshire Council has resulted in the authority becoming one of seven programme providers in Scotland to be awarded ‘Leadership Academy’ status by Sports Leaders UK.

The programme, delivered by the council’s Sports Development team, provides opportunities for young people age 13 years and above to become involved in sport leadership and coaching within their local community.

There are several stages to the programme, which candidates can progress to dependant on their level of interest, including recognised qualifications.

Last year 180 primary and 198 secondary pupils achieved nationally accredited sport leader awards helping students of working age to secure casual employment as sports coaches within Renfrewshire.

The enhanced status comes as a result of Renfrewshire’s success in increasing voluntary hours, community sport club placements and its support of local events. As a Leadership Academy, Renfrewshire will act as a beacon of good practise to other organisations in terms of creating opportunities for young people.

There are 400 Leadership Academies in the UK but only a handful have made the grade in Scotland. Shelley Meyern, Senior National Development Manager for Sports Leaders UK explains what sets them and Renfrewshire apart: “They have taken the Sports Leaders UK ethos and made it the very foundation of what they do, developing a range of creative ideas which go beyond the learning from our leadership awards and qualifications. We want these centres to be held up as role models for best practice.”

More good news followed in the form of a £9,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Celebrate Fund. The Sport’s Development team applied for the funding to ensure kids from poorer parts of Renfrewshire have the same opportunity to gain sports-related skills and qualifications.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board said, “We want to develop a pool of community volunteers who can ensure that sport continues to thrive in Renfrewshire following the Commonwealth Games. It is excellent news that our Celebrate bid has been successful. This means no one needs be excluded from helping us to achieve our aim”.

Community sports leadership makes up part of the programme. It is hoped that as their confidence and experience grows, Renfrewshire’s young people will take their sports training into the community and spread the word about the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.

PHOTOSLeadership Academy 1: Future sports leaders (Back row, left to right) Stephen Dow, Bradley Pugh, Dillon Webster, Callum Anderson and Jonathon Lawler. (Front row, left to right) Sean Hannigan, Dylan Brown, Gemma Kerr, Emma Dickson and Mohammad Sohail NadeemLeadership Academy 2: Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board with Laurene Edgar, Project Officer, Sports Leaders UK

Leadership Academy 3: Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board with David Rose, Session Coach (left) and Scott Graham, Sports Development Officer (right).

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

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By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News