As a strategic lead in football, FA tutor and mentor, and Academic within the field of sport, to become a member of staff for this organisation would be something I would hold truly dear, and would approach with professionalism, absolute dedication, drive and passion in order to achieve success.
Since completing my undergraduate degree in Sport from the University of Birmingham, the majority of my experiences related to suitability for this position have taken place at West Bromwich Albion FC. I began my time there in 2006, and over the years have held positions of Community Coach, Sport Coordinator, Development Officer, RTC Technical Director, General Manager, disability coordinator, and more recently, Head of Sport. Every facet of sporting delivery and development is within my remit and management in this role, such as international football development, basketball and cricket strategy, HR, line management, culture improvement, staff recruitment and retention, and since March, embedding a robust CPD programme across the entire organisation.
An advantage of working for this company has been the adherence to branding guidelines, and respecting the importance of representing the global brand, and improving the overall visuality of the club globally.
I am proud to have developed many skills which can be transferred to this role. These include shaping a multi-disciplinary team, developing a CPD programme for 75+ staff, working within a budget, time management, mentorship, measuring impact, IT and keynote proficiency, outstanding line management, developing partnerships and networks, and achieving KPI’s within the strategic vision of my role.
My 4-year tenure in WBA Academy as YDP coach allowed me to explore pedagogical cases, coach the person as well as the player, and develop my own coaching identity. The club philosophy of coaching and playing were embedded in me early on, and I feel comfortable in not only articulating what this philosophy looks like, but have also developed several coaching philosophies since, more recently in my role as Head of Football for University of Wolverhampton. I became proficient in PMA and understood the Club’s requirements to meet EPPP. All of this was within a backdrop of delivering high quality sessions to some of the most talented players locally. Since moving on from this experience, the last five years of department leadership has provided me with essential experiences, qualifications and learnings around how to get the best from a multi-disciplinary team. Coaching staff, apprentices, HR staff, development officers, basketball legends and cricket partners all encompass a cohort for which I have been able to embed a culture and work ethic within a disciplined structure. Clear vision and creation of a realistic, clarified strategic framework has combined with valued partnerships with local NGB’s and other stakeholders to hold a national reputation for outstanding people and projects. Connecting vision to shaping an MDT approach has come to fruition recently as my role and influence with WBA Women FC has seen us grow in number of teams, an improved player pathway, sports science and psychology staff recruitment, and creating a Board of trustees to improve governance.
As much as I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at WBA, this job is one where I feel I can sharpen my skills, find new challenge, but also impact a larger scale programme within an institute of real history and tradition in the sporting world. The idea of integrating a multi-disciplinary team excites me. To develop and grow people to achieve their objectives and make them feel inspired as we reach our strategic goals.
As an FA coach mentor, I have been able to hone my skills of developing rapport, supporting a coach journey, being a sounding board, being critical, and shaping a plan to improve. This has been complemented within my MSc in Sport Coaching, where some topics I have covered involved advanced pedagogies, digital technology in Sport Coaching, player development, and contemporary issues in sport coaching. One of my more outstanding pieces of work was around talent identification and development. This got my interest around the subject area, so I have undertaken more research in what other sports and countries do on terms of talent ID. This research would be vital for this role, and I’d love to develop my knowledge in this area even more. I am excited to complete this degree in September 2021 and am keen to share my learnings from this course in this role, not least my dissertation focus around using reflective practice.
From a personal perspective, I have three clarified core values of pride, humility and relentless endeavour. Should I be considered for this role, these values will be evident in all aspects of the recruitment process, and deployment. I am dedicated to learning and self-improvement and take CPD extremely seriously. My MSc degree is testament to this. I am also beginning an ILM Management course in September. On completion of this I shall look again at what CPD can get me closer to reaching my goals. Formal qualifications will also be aligned to a robust programme which also includes reading, mentorship, and detailed networking.