Andy Slater from the Lifestyles Faculty of Activate Learning describes a partnership between college students and a professional sports club that works well for everyone.

The Lifestyles Faculty is part of Activate Learning, a forward-thinking education group with a global reach. The group comprises further and higher education, schools, apprenticeships and business training.

Lifestyles is made up of a number of vocational streams comprising Sports, Hair, Beauty, Media Make-up, and Hospitality & Catering. Our mission is to provide work-ready talent for business, and to transform lives through our learning philosophy.  

Our relationships with employers are key to our success. Through partnerships, work experience, apprenticeships and training opportunities, businesses have benefited greatly from working with Lifestyles.

Working with Reading Rockets basketball club

Activate Learning Lifestyles Faculty has teamed up with one of the leading professional basketball clubs in the UK – Reading Rockets – to provide young people with an opportunity to develop their coaching skills and become the next generation of sports coaches.

The relationship has been mutually beneficial with Activate Learning students gaining high-quality input from some top national coaches and community facilitators, and Reading Rockets gaining access to the young coaches of the future. Together they are creating an employment pipeline to UK basketball clubs and the coaching community programme.

Sports Coaching students receive direct input from club professionals, which augments the input provided by the Activate Learning Faculty. In partnership, the organisations deliver and assess the qualification, providing a successful combination of academic rigour and real-world know-how.

Alongside the direct input, students are placed into the Club’s Community Programme, where they learn how to support experienced coaching staff in their delivery of basketball coaching programmes to local community groups.

Ultimately, the students gain a National Governing Body (NGB) Basketball Coaching Level One qualification.

Benefits for students and the sports team

Steph Johnson, Head of Reading Rockets Community Programmes, said: “Our partnership with the sports students at Reading College has been a positive one for both organisations. It has provided an opportunity for the club to work closely with the students in the classroom and give them access to high-level sports performers to help assist them with assignments. It has also allowed us to help bridge the gap between the classroom and the working world, and make the students aware of what the “real” industry in sport looks like and the requirements it has. Being able to impart the knowledge that we have through our work in a variety of settings has helped to bring both examples of the work place into the classroom and opportunities to engage in these work places.”

Students are demonstrating excellent professional standards and attributes whilst improving their communication skills and soft skills, which are essential in gaining employment. 

The success of the partnership is clear, with six former students progressing to employment with Reading Rockets Basketball Club as part of their Coaching in the Community Team.

The benefits for both the students and for Reading Rockets are clear to see and the hope is that this employment progression for students will continue long into the future.

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