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The Foundation's University of South Wales Sports Coaching degree success story

AFC Fylde Community Foundation's first year delivering a Sports Coaching degree ran alongside the University of South Wales (USW) and EFL Trust was a great success.

The official charity of AFC Fylde offers two Foundation degree choices in sports coaching and football development.

We also provide an option for a third year on the course to complete a 'top up' degree in order to gain a full Bachelor of Sciences. The Foundation is also proud to offer a full Bachelor of Arts with Honours degree in Business Development.

The courses are designed for individual who want to attain a university qualification are passionate about pursuing a career in the sports industry. They are ran from Fylde Sports and Education Centre, offering a mixture of pre-recorded and live lectures.

The courses are structured to enable students to learn and develop valuable skills within Community Development, Children and Youth coaching, as well as Sports and Event Management, with students completing 400 hours of work placement during their course of study alongside Foundation staff.

One of our USW students, Cian McPartlan, who was initially a bit anxious about starting university has reflected on the success of his first year, he said: "It's been very good. I was quite excited to start the course anyway but because I've got a stutter, I wasn't excited for that part of it.

"I found the written work a bit hard to start off with, I've always been brought up playing football. As soon as I left high school, I did a college course at AFC Fylde and I also played for the football club - all I ever wanted to be was a footballer, I didn't care about school or college work that much."

"I think I started off quite well though, everything seemed to go fairly smoothly. I had a few exams where I struggled a bit but I made up for those mistakes in my other assignments."

The students' assignments vary from written assessments, presentations, practical coaching drills and multi choice exams.

To end their first year, they had to travel to Wales and deliver a presentation in front of the rest of the students on the course from around the country. This is something Cian would have originally struggled with, but not anymore.

He said: "Overcoming barriers such as my stutter, was mainly putting myself more out of my comfort zone. We had to do a presentation in Wales and I was scared of it because I'd never done anything like that.

"My stutter is a confidence thing, if I'm confident, I'll be fine, it's when I'm thinking about it when it becomes a problem."

"Chris [McNally] and Mick [Whittle] helped me with that, they spoke to the University about me potentially doing it on my own. They prepared me by doing several practice runs to build my confidence up and by the time I had to do the assessment, it was easy because I'd practiced it so much.

"Everything the Foundation have done to help me with the course has been really good - I've always had the support I've needed.

"It's been a brilliant environment to do the course in because everyone's nice and helpful, it just makes my life a lot easier."

If you are still debating what your next step is, why not choose any of the Foundation's fantastic options? Follow your passion and receiving qualifications whilst doing so.

Cian doesn't regret his decision and he believes people should take the same path he did: "I would definitely recommend the course, you get good qualifications at the end of it and with those qualifications you'll receive really good job offers.

"The Foundation also try and help you find the best pathway, to help you progress further down the line.

"In my experience they've always provided me with different options. They've always helped me towards my end goal.

"Some advice I would give is to be confident, enjoy it and ask questions. I've always done everything my way, I've learnt now that if I ask questions I'll get the answers I need to help me progress even more."

Chris McNally, our Employability and Skills Manager, oversees the USW students and he has nothing but praise for Cian: "He has come on leaps and bounds since he first arrived last September.

"It's been a pleasure to teach Cian this year, it makes my job so much easier when you have students like Cian who want to learn and they give their all.

"The Foundation is really proud of him, it would be so easy for him to let his speech impediment have power over him, but he has the drive and determination to let it not dictate his life and he is reaping the rewards."

If you would like to register your interest in signing up for one of our two degrees with University of South Wales, either sports coaching or football development, please email:

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