Brand new Sports Foundation Degree

SPORTS enthusiasts in Furness now have the opportunity to do the first two years of a Sports BTEC degree locally, with the chance of becoming professional coaches in the future.

The first cohort of Furness College’s new sports foundation degree course started at the Barrow college at the end of September. Paula Eddy is Curriculum Manager for Sport and Young People’s Projects at the college. She said: “We made a decision to focus on sports coach and sports development because we feel that is it something we need in Barrow. It runs alongside a project we are involved in with Sports England and West Lakes Renaissance which is trying to increase the number of sports coaches in this area. It’s the first two years of a degree, which they can top up at university to gain the full degree. It is validated by the University of Cumbria, which the perfect place for top up, but students can go elsewhere if they wish at the end of the two years. Some of the first year first cohort students are part-timers who work locally and some have progressed through college from doing National Diploma in sport.”

The course goes beyond practical sports to study how sporta coaching and development are achieved – subjects like developing research skills, sports sociology, nutrition, and how the body works. The training includes 50 hours work experience, which could be in a sports club or after school club or any coaching-type position,” Paula said, “This gives them hands on experience and puts the academic work they are learning into practice.”

The college helps students find placements to complete their 50 hours in the field. Tutors include Sarah Sildatki and Glyn Chapman. Sarah has been at the college for seven years, teaching at first diploma, national diploma and foundation degree levels. Among her first class were three Barrow students, all supporting themselves on the course with student loans.

Melissa Hogan, 18, said: “I am interested in dancing, hockey and running and I want to become a sports coach. I didn’t want to go away to learn so I’m glad they put on this course. I have already done a year at college and this is progression for me.”

James Lee, 19, said: “I want the right qualifications for being able to upgrade to an honours degree. I would like to do coaching, mostly in football and basketball, in schools and clubs – probably in Barrow. I joined the course because with the right qualifications I can become a professional.”

Sam Rowlands, 18, said: “There are jobs in coaching. I’m keen to get to do that, and might move away to get the right job.”

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