A group of sports organisations in the north-west of England have come together to create full-time coaching apprenticeships for young people from challenging backgrounds.
The "Team Manchester" branch of the Coach Core initiative will work with professional sports teams like Manchester City, Manchester United, Sale Sharks and Lancashire Cricket Club to provide tutoring, qualifications and other opportunities to enable the youngsters to pursue careers in coaching and elsewhere in the sports industry.
The new scheme is part of a wider initiative launched in 2012 as part of the legacy of the London Olympic Games and is supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry through the Royal Foundation, in partnership with BT Sport.
"William, Catherine and I are thrilled that Coach Core has now launched in Manchester creating a chance for young people from every background to join an incredible apprenticeship and take the first steps towards becoming sports coaches," Prince Harry said as part of the launch.
"Manchester is a city which is full of sporting heroes, I am pleased that through Coach Core Team Manchester, we will be creating a group of sports coaches who can in turn inspire other young people from their community.”
The Manchester branch is one of two Coach Core centres in the UK - the other being in Essex - and the Royal Foundation hopes to launch 10 across the country in the coming years.
Since its launch nearly five years ago, the initiative boasts that 98 per cent of its apprentices have moved into full-time work or education after graduating.
On the launch day last week, the young people visited Manchester City's City Football Academy and practised coaching drills on children from local primary schools with ambassadors Rio Ferdinand, the former Manchester United defender; Richard Dunne, the former City defender; and Lucy Bronze, the City women's team full-back.
"Sport is a great tool to bring people together. It breaks down language barriers, it breaks down cultural barriers. It brings such a diverse group of people together," Ferdinand told The Independent.
"It’s a great initiative. [The apprentices] are all into it. They all seem like they are desperate to get in the workplace and give something back to the kids.
"I think a lot of people from the local community are just looking for an opportunity and that’s being provided by this."Reuse content