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19 June 2017

In the build up to this week’s Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEIBA) final, nominated apprentice James Hare reflects on his time as part of the Gillingham FC Community Trust’s Apprenticeship Programme.

"I started my Teaching Assistant and Sports Coach Apprenticeship with the Trust in September 2015, and was placed at Fairview Community Primary School in Gillingham. I'm currently finishing my second year on the programme.

"The apprenticeship with Gillingham Football Club Community Trust entails many activities across each day. I teach a wide range of sports to all years at Fairview. I also lead the PE activities every morning at breakfast club to help the children wake up so they are ready for the school day. I like to challenge myself by teaching all year groups.

"I also take small intervention groups out of class every day for children who need extra support in subjects such as English and Maths. Over the two years at Fairview, I have had the responsibility of one-to-one support with four children. Three of the children struggle with their behaviour for various reasons, and so if their behaviour is at a good standard throughout the day they get to do extra sport with me as a reward. The other child struggles with concentration, so I take her out for 10 minutes to do some stretching and other sports to help her concentration in class.

New opportunities

"Since starting the apprenticeship, I have managed to become qualified in teaching swimming. I now teach swimming to all year groups once a week over the course of the school year. I run lunchtime and after school clubs every week; I do four clubs a week to try and get as many children involved with PE as possible. Another role I have at Fairview is leading teams at competitions such as the Mini Youth Games and festivals.

"Alongside my work at Fairview, there have been many opportunities that I have been lucky enough to get due to the apprenticeship with Gillingham FC Community Trust. I have achieved my Level 3 qualification in supporting the delivery of Physical Education in Primary Schools, and I have also gained my Level 2 football qualification and my swimming qualification.

"Another opportunity I have had is being able to coach at Gills Soccer Schools in the school half terms. This allows me to develop my coaching skills whilst helping children enjoy football. I also coach for the Gillingham FC Development Centre on a Monday night, which is an opportunity I would not have had without being an apprentice at Gillingham.

Maturity and confidence

"Personally I feel that I have developed in many ways since starting the apprenticeship with Gillingham FC Community Trust. Maturity is the biggest aspect for me. I came into the apprenticeship straight from secondary school, meaning I was 16 when I started. I had to mature very quickly, going from a being student to a teacher. It was challenging, but with the help from the Trust and the school I feel I have matured into a respected staff member and teacher.

"Another development would be my confidence. Having to teach classes at a young age, I feel my self-confidence has grown, and my confidence in the knowledge I have has grown too. I now regularly present sporting awards in whole school assemblies in front of 600 children, and when teaching a class I also need to show confidence to ensure I have the children's full attention.

"There are many benefits about being an apprentice with Gillingham Football Club Community Trust. The support I get from them is flawless; whenever I'm stuck with work or need some advice about the teaching side they are always there with the answers I need quickly. I feel the Trust take pride in the support they give the apprentices.

"The other benefit to being a part of Gillingham's apprenticeship programme is that it's a big apprenticeship scheme, meaning there are many other apprentices doing the same job who you could ask for some advice from or give advice to; we all work as a team to help each other when we need it.

The apprenticeship I have been doing has opened many doors for me for the future. Personally I feel I am going to try and pursue a PE teaching career, and feel that Gillingham FC Community Trust has supported me with this by giving me options on how to achieve the next step. The apprenticeship with Gillingham has made me ready to go and try to achieve that job, and be able to help many other children along the way."

James is shortlisted under the KEIBA Apprenticeship of the Year category. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on Thursday, June 22. Good luck to James, and a huge well done to him and all of our apprentices doing fantastic work in schools across the local community.

Find out more about the Gillingham FC Community Trust here, or follow us on Twitter @GillsCommunity.  You can also find out about any open apprenticeship vacancies here. 

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