For apprentice Taryn Follows, combining her passion for sports and working with children was something she was determined to make possible. Thanks to Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s apprenticeship programme, Taryn, 18, was able to turn her dream into a reality after joining the 18-month programme in September 2019.
The programme aims to provide youngsters aged 16-19 with opportunities to gain valuable experience of coaching in schools and community settings and on reflection she says was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
Speaking during National Apprenticeship Week (8th-12th February), Taryn she said:
“When you leave school you could go straight into work, but I really wanted a practical approach to things. “There are many different pathways to go down but I wanted to continue to learn and get something out of it instead of just going into a job. “I’ve always had a passion for sports and working with children so by putting them together it gave me a dream job. I think my passion and determination to do it were the main reasons I threw myself at it. “Now having been here for 18-months it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my career and as a person too.
“I’m grateful for all the experiences and knowledge I’ve acquired and I can honestly say I’m a better person now than I was when I started. I’ve been able to focus on something that I enjoy whilst learning at the same time and helping other people. I wanted to do it for me but also to help others, to make a positive contribution but also get something out of it myself
“The whole experience has been incredible and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
The programme provides apprentices with the opportunity to work with head coaches from across the Community Trust and something Taryn believes will only benefit her going forward.
“Being on the apprenticeship has allowed me to come to work and enjoy what I’m doing and it’s been incredible to work with so many different people on different projects. You get a new perspective from them all and every session you learn something new and take something out of it whether that’s something from the lesson plan, the method behind it or the actual techniques and skills you’re delivering with. I think the skills I’ve been able to develop during the apprenticeship are priceless and will stay with me for the rest of my life, both on a personal and professional level. I can transfer them and apply them in everything that I do
“It’s been so positive to be able to work with coaches who have been in my position and been an apprentice too. They have been successful in getting full-time jobs with the Community Trust and for me it’s great to take on and adopt some of the ways they deliver. Every coach has a different style and technique when delivering so being with so many people you can pick that up.”
Asked about her aspirations for the future, Taryn hopes to continue her studies and her aspirations to become a full-time sports coach.
“The apprenticeship has enabled me to see things from a whole new perspective and have a better understanding of the careers available in the industry and the pathways I can take to get there. It has helped me to decide that sports coaching is a career I’d like to pursue with. I have an interest in sign language as well which is something I’d like to carry on with and eventually combine the two. I think the next step for me is university and getting a degree which could open up further opportunities in a full-time coaching role. I’m definitely passionate in continuing with sports coaching.
“I’ve loved the whole experience and it’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s had the perfect balance of having your own responsibilities but we’d get help if we needed it. Although this year has been difficult with the pandemic, it has been incredible and what I’ve learnt will stay with me for the rest of my life.”