Will Mellor: The More Practical Way to Get Experience and a Degree

Will Mellor, by his own admission, is not a particularly academic person but he is a great example how there are many routes to qualifications, employment and success.

Leaving school, a university education was not on the cards for Will and he struggled to get that critical first step into employment. A 12 week traineeship with Derby County Community Trust changed that and opened the door to an apprenticeship, which has now lead to him study for a degree with the Rams.

Will first joined Derby County Community Trust (DCCCT) on their traineeship back in February 2018 whilst looking into his first steps following school. Whilst on the traineeship he completed an extensive work placement within the Rams Schools and Coaching department. The experience that the traineeship provided allowed him to discover that he had a real passion for coaching, and that it could form the basis of his future career.

Derby County are one of several EFL Clubs on EFL Trust’s traineeship programme. A traineeship offers youngsters aged 16-23, who are currently not in education or employment the crucial first stepping stone to getting a job. The 12 week courses are week based at professional football clubs. Trainees receive free training in employment skills such as CV writing and interview skills in addition to receiving support on their functional Math and English skills. Crucially they also get the chance to gain valuable work experience in a wide range of industries.

On completing the traineeship, he applied for a Community Coach apprenticeship at the Trust which he went on to succeed in.  In recognition of his progress within his first year, he was awarded Derby County’s Education Champion at their Annual Awards in 2018.

Will then continued to progress through his apprenticeship with Mitre, gaining his academic qualifications along with gaining ‘on the ground’ experience. He completed his FA Level 1 qualification and is well on the way to completing his FA Level 2 too.

He was one of the first learners nationally to complete the new Level 2 Community Activator Coach apprenticeship before being completing the Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sports (Level 3) apprenticeship framework.

As his apprenticeship came to an end in 2020, he began to think about his future as a coach and decided to apply for DCCCT’s Community Coaching and Development Degree in partnership with the University of South Wales.

This course provides further experience, technical knowledge and enhances students’ abilities within coaching.

He started in the 2020/21 cohort last September, and is a vocal, vibrant member of the group, who always has something to contribute.

Jodie Hayes, Education Lead, Derby County Community Trust, comments, “Will is just one of many apprentices who have gone on to continue their educational journeys within Derby County Community Trust.  We currently have two part-time coaches who are in the third year of their degree and two previous apprentices who have completed the degree and moved on to full-time jobs in other industries. The pathway that traineeship to apprenticeship, to degree, can provide, forms a solid base from which our learners go on to succeed, in the sports industry and beyond.”