Six Scottish rugby coaches have become the first group to complete the new UKCC Level 4 coaching certificate at Edinburgh Napier University.
With coaches ranging from professional, BT Premiership and national age grade sides, the certificate recipients Kenny Murray (Glasgow Warriors), Phil Smith (Heriot’s and Scotland Club XV), Ben Fisher (BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and Scotland U20), Stevie Scott (former Edinburgh Rugby), Stevie Lawrie (Watsonians FC and Scotland Club XV) and Andrew Hall (Hong Kong) have all successfully completed the course.
The United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) Level 4 certificate was first introduced in Scotland in 2015, delivered by a partnership between Edinburgh Napier University and sportscotland.
Ruari Davidson, lead manager at sportscotland, is delighted to see the partnership continue and said: “Our collaborative approach with Scottish Rugby to enable so many coaches to be at the forefront of coaching practice, contributing in a range of environments and profiling the importance of coach education, is hugely significant for the sport of rugby and the world-class sporting system.”
Scottish Rugby’s training and education manager, Neil Graham, added: “We are delighted to have six coaches completing their UKCC Level 4 as they look to accelerate their development and progress towards their coaching goals.
"Our commitment towards nurturing Scottish coaches is demonstrated in this qualification, and together with Edinburgh Napier University and sportscotland we have enhanced the development opportunities for Scotland’s up-and-coming coaches”
Across the sporting system
This occasion marks not only a fantastic achievement for Scottish Rugby but also a significant milestone for Scottish coaching across the sporting system.
Prior to the successful graduation of these six Scottish rugby coaches, there were 14 qualified UKCC Level 4 coaches in Scotland. This new group of graduates marks a significant increase of coaches qualified at the highest level, with the number likely to continue to rise with more students currently in the pipeline.
Ruari Davidson recognises the need for continued investment in coaching qualifications at all levels for Scotland to continue producing highly-qualified coaches in all sports.
“sportscotland work in partnership with sport governing bodies to support, develop and deliver accessible coaching qualifications. These will lead to a knowledgeable, skilled and highly effective coaching workforce throughout Scotland," he said.
"To improve the accessibility and affordability of coach education we support over 3000 coaches in achieving their qualification each year.”
Planning for the future
These initial six graduates are only the beginning, with more Scottish coaches expected to complete the course in the near future.
BT’s Coach of the Season, Calum Forrester, from Ayr, is in line to graduate in the coming months alongside John Dalziel, who recently coached the Scotland U20 team to fifth place at the World Rugby Junior World Championships, their highest-ever tournament finish.
A host of other coaches are also poised to enter into their second year of the qualification during the new season.
Neil Graham is encouraged by the pick-up of the new coaching certificate, saying: “More coaches will complete the qualification over the coming seasons and we look forward to working with them to develop their performance, coaching behaviours and skills."