The benefits of coaching and volunteering for the community are well documented, but coaches and volunteers themselves also develop highly transferable skills which can help in their future careers.
One programme that puts this principle at its centre is the Renfrewshire School of Sport Education (RSSE), a sports coaching, training and education programme for pupils aged 16 and over. The programme consists of 3 hours of training a week over a 20-week period.
During this time, the participants are given the opportunity to develop their leadership, communication and social skills – all essential skills for sports coaching, but also invaluable transferable skills for life and work. The young people then volunteer in local schools and communities and help to influence and inspire the next generation to be more physically active and healthy.
We caught up with three former participants in the programme to see how they have benefited longer term. Amy Couttie, Tammy Johnston, Erin Campbell, Cherie O’Neill have now become full time Active Schools coordinators and use their role to inspire young people to engage in sport and physical activity.
How did the RSSE programme help you?
Cherie: "In 2010 I was selected to be a part of RSSE, this course equipped me to start my journey as a volunteer sports coach.
"This course gave me the confidence, skills and knowledge to apply for a HND at City of Glasgow College to study sports coaching and development."
Tammy: "Taking part in the RSSE programme made me realise I had a passion for coaching children in sport and it was from here that I went on to become a member of staff."
What volunteering experience did you gain from RSSE and Active Schools?
Amy: "I completed over 1,000 voluntary hours, completed Renfrewshire’s School of Sport Education (RSSE) and was also involved in the sportscotland Young Ambassador programme, all of which are experiences I'll never forget."
Tammy: "I started volunteering for Active Schools when I was in third year at high school when I came across my Active Schools coordinator. I volunteered more than 300 hours during the programme and the Active Schools team helped me develop my confidence, leadership and core coaching skills."
How has this helped your career in sport?
Amy: "My experience with Active Schools over the years are no doubt the main reasons I am where I am today. Without the experience and opportunities I was given, I believe I would not be the individual I am now."
Erin: "Active Schools has helped my career in sport massively. I had the opportunity to work with a number of different people in primary and high schools as well as sportscotland and NGBs."
What encouragement would you give to others looking to get involved in coaching, volunteering or a career in sport?
Amy: "For anyone with a passion for sport, I would encourage them to say yes to every opportunity as you never know what door could open up next for you. Also never be scared to ask someone for help or advice to help you on your journey, there will always be so many knowledgeable people around you to help and support. Continue to believe in yourself!’’
Erin: "I would encourage anyone looking to begin a career in sport to volunteer as much as possible with different organisations and people. The more experience you have in different sporting environments will increase your overall knowledge of sport in Scotland.’’
Tammy: "Just go for it! Sport and coaching has taken me far in life. It’s brought me lifelong friends and memories I will cherish forever. As a coach I travelled to South Africa to deliver and now as a coordinator I take young people with me to experience everything I have. I wouldn’t have achieved any of the accomplishments or be in the job I am in just now if it wasn’t for getting involved in sport."