Community Football Degree Led to Full-time Role at Championship Club

Former electrical engineer Mark Reynolds, 34, graduated from the Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development in 2016. He is now a Community Coach at Bristol City FC, and also the Club’s Foundation Degree Mentor.

What is your job?

I am a Community Coach at Bristol City FC, delivering sports sessions across Bristol which help enhance the reputation of the club in the community. I am also the Club’s Foundation Degree Mentor. With my experience of the course I can hopefully guide other students successfully through the course.

Why did you want to do the Foundation Degree?

Before I started the course, I was an electrical engineer for Rolls Royce. I wanted a complete change and hoped that the course would help me start a career in the football industry. I’d played football for many years and thought I would enjoy helping others develop their ability and confidence through coaching.

Did the course help you get your current job?

Absolutely. The placement I had at the football club as part of the course gave me the opportunity to put the content of the course into practice and also impress the people who would eventually employ me. I have been a fan of the football club since I was young so it’s great to now work here.

Tell us about the placements

I did a placement on a Walking Football programme, which is aimed at the over 50s. It was really important to understand a community project as part of the course and this gave me great insight into community needs rather than just youth football coaching.

What were the most valuable aspects of the course?

I would say being able to use lecture content in a practical environment; it’s great to see the theory work in practice. I learned so much. Although I had some football knowledge, what I learnt about the methodology of coaching was huge. It has made me much more adaptable and understanding of player needs.

How was going back to University as a mature student?

Being a mature student was interesting – I had to learn to learn again! I really enjoyed it though and adding theoretical knowledge to life experience has been invaluable. Learning online was great, and I found it very beneficial to be able to go over lecture content to check over detail. The teachers were fantastic and their knowledge of coaching is superb as are the facilities at USW Sport Park.

What are your plans now?

I am very open minded about my future, but it certainly lies within the football industry. I think the qualification helps to open doors that can lead to many different paths.

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Doncaster Rovers Duo Pay Visit to College

Doncaster Rovers first team players Andy Butler and Matty Blair paid a visit to Club Doncaster Sports College on Monday to inspire the younger generation.

The pair spent the afternoon hosting a Q&A session, giving advice to the sports students who are working hard to pave a career path in the industry.


The players were quick to highlight how significant external motivation can be, especially when it comes from a professional footballer.

Matty Blair said, “If us coming in today can inspire just one kid to go and make it big, we’ve done our job.”

He added, “Everyone has someone they strive to be like. I’m not saying I’m everyone’s role model but it’s great for them to see us in the flesh, that if you work hard you can be a success – no matter what industry you want to go and work in.”

Principal of the college, Adi Turnpenny also said, “Having the players give motivational talks to the students is great as they are taking advice from their role models about careers in sport. The players do a great job of inspiring our students to work hard in class to achieve their goals.”

Teens make a difference in Hull and East Riding

It’s not just teenagers that have benefited from NCS in Hull and East Riding this summer!

The group began working with Dove House Hospice, taking on the NCS Accumulator challenge. The challenge itself was to start with £50 and use this to support fundraising and raise awareness. The group exceeded all expectations, raising £1,600 through various fundraising activities ranging from a door to door car washing service, a Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood inspired Great British Bake Off Challenge, and an open mic evening to celebrate local musical talent in Hull.


Dan Clipson of Dove Hospice has been blown away by the support from young people on NCS programmes, and says: This summer was a great experience for both the NCS teams and for us here at Dove House Hospice. The Accumulator Challenge was well received by all of the groups and allowed young people to really develop their skills that they’d learnt earlier in the programme.

We’re excited to see how our growing relationship develops with the NCS programme, allowing the Accumulator Challenge to become a real staple of hospice care awareness and fundraising from a younger generation”.

Many young people have now expressed an interest in continuing their support of the hospice through taking part in upcoming events such as the Colour Run – a 5k fun run leaving you awash with a rainbow of colours.

As well as supporting Dove House Hospice, the group undertook a project to support the HU5 area of Hull. After hearing on Radio Humberside that local people weren’t happy with the state of their streets, the young people took it upon themselves to clean them and filled over 40 bags of rubbish on their first day. Word spread of what they were doing, and Radio Humberside invited them along to speak live on radio with DJ Dave Burns about their social action project.

Whilst benefiting the community, the impact NCS has had on these youngsters has been significant; they have developed life skills, learnt about the local community, and most importantly, developed a sense of achievement with the difference that they have made.

Andreea Voinea, a volunteer aged 16 from Hull said: “This has been the most incredible summer. I had so much fun, tried something new every day and met new people who I can’t wait to meet up with again.’’

Andreea continued: “One of my highlights was creating our social action project to support Dove Hospice and help clean the streets of HU5. It was amazing to be able to see the project through and realise the huge difference we can make if we put our minds to it – the sense of achievement at the end raising over £1,600 for Dove Hospice, and the amount of rubbish we collected was something I’d never experienced before and it really bonded the group. I’d definitely encourage other young people to give it a go.”

Social action projects are taking place across the country with the NCS programme and this is just one of many examples of how young people are making a positive difference in their community.

Tackling the Government’s Goals

The EFL Trust and EFL joined forces this week to showcase the work of the 72 community trusts of EFL clubs at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

With the Championship Trophy proudly on display, the EFL Trust stand attracted a wide range of visitors, including Government Ministers Justine Greening (Secretary of State for Education), Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport), Brandon Lewis (Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service) and Rob Wilson (Minister for Civil society) the minister who has overall responsibility for NCS.


Speaking about the conference, Mike Evans, Director of Operations at EFL Trust said:

 “Promoting the work of our club trusts and engaging key stakeholders are major strands of our new strategy, and the party conference is a very important stage for us.

“Based in the heart of their communities, the 72 EFL Clubs and their community trusts tackle some of the biggest issues on the Government’s agenda with projects dealing with obesity, mental health issues, and heart disease, that reduce crime, and offer inspiring educational programmes and career opportunities.

“NCS is obviously a key Government initiative that we deliver very strongly on, but a lot of the conversations we have been having with Ministers, MPs and policy advisors this week have been about how we can utilise the unique engagement factor of our club trusts, and their skills in inspiring young people, to provide a fully integrated offer through education, volunteering and training right through to employment.

“Government is looking for innovation in this area, and our club trust network is in an incredible position to make a real difference to young people’s lives.”