As part of the ever-developing relationship between ATU and Sligo Rovers, three students from ATU Sligo’s Sport with Business degree completed their 13-week work placement with the Sligo Rovers Academy on a new coaching programme.
Students Peter Maguire, Ultan Mc Kenna and Caoilte Brannigan visited primary schools within the Sligo area twice per week and delivered expert coaching sessions on the fundamentals of football. The schools involved were Scoil Ursula NS, St John’s NS, Strandhill NS, Carraroe NS, Ballymote NS, and Réalt na Mara NS.
A new education agreement with the FAI gives students on the Sport with Business degree free access to advanced football coaching awards. This was ideal for Peter, Ultan and Caoilte who all have a deep passion for football and wanted to gain experience coaching with the Sligo Rovers Academy.
The success of the programme has been outstanding. Conor O Grady, Head of the Sligo Rovers Academy said, “This new initiative between ATU Sligo and Sligo Rovers strengthens our partnership, but more importantly gives students experience of organising and implementing coaching sessions for children. The FAI involvement is vital for this programme going forward as students receive coaching badges whilst completing their degree. This gives them a head start if they have an interest in pursuing FAI coaching.”
Roddy Gaynor, work placement co-ordinator for the Sport with Business degree added, “It is so important for our students to experience what it is like to work full time in a potential career area. In this instance, the three students had to step up professionally every day to plan and deliver coaching to young children in the fundamentals of sport. Even though the students are only 20 years of age, there is no hiding place when it comes to the importance of guiding young children in a safe environment for physical activity. They return to university with a completely different perspective on what it means to work professionally in sport.”
The schools involved in the programme have also been delighted to get a weekly coaching programme delivered to their pupils. Bernard Mulhern, Principal of St. John’s NS said, “The coaching programme in association with ATU Sligo and Sligo Rovers was an extremely enjoyable initiative. Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the interaction perfecting their skills and playing football. I hope that the programme will resume in the 2023/2024 academic year and that our school will again be part of it.”
The ATU Sligo Sport with Business degree combines fundamentals of business with the practical application of coaching, teaching and development within the sport and education sectors. One of the key components of the degree is the work placement programme where students can work full time in a chosen field. For more information on ATU Sligo’s Sport with Business programmes please visit atu.ie/au903 (Level 8) or atu.ie/au804 (Level 7).