Gary’s Learning Story

Throughout my time at school, I wasn’t at my happiest. I didn’t really connect with it. I wasn’t the most academically gifted, I didn’t achieve the grades many of my friends did and the only subject I found to be of interest was Physical Education (PE).

When I finished school I wasn’t clear on what career pathway I wanted to pursue, and I didn’t feel I was ready to hold-down a job.

Having given it serious consideration, I chose to remain a student and I enrolled with a sixth form. Through the making of new friends, I was made aware of a two-hour football session delivered every Friday evening by Bristol City Community Trust in a venue near to where I lived.

The first time I attended the session I was instantly engaged and it was the best decision I made as the programme filled me with great enjoyment.

I continued to attend the session every week for the next six months and having got to know the coaches they were aware of my circumstances and knew I had a passion for sport.

One Friday, I was handed a leaflet, promoting the Community Trust’s BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport education programme, which I later applied for and got accepted onto.

Within the two-year course there was the opportunity to go and deliver some voluntary coaching with the Trust’s full-time coaches, and in time this field became something I had a passion for and wanted to explore further.

I then completed my FA Level 1 Coaching badge and this allowed me to deliver sessions for the Trust by myself as a casual coach and I then started to get paid for my delivery.

Whilst studying with the Trust, I trained with Team Bath Futsal, a team in the first division with a number of talented international players. Once the transfer window opened, I was able to sign for the club and we won the division, which was a fantastic achievement.

In the second year of the BTEC course, the Trust rewarded my commitment and efforts by paying for my FA Level 2 course, which I passed at the first attempt.

I then graduated from the Trust’s education programme and was offered an apprenticeship within the coaching department. The year provided me with a variety of opportunities and my ability to coach improved massively.

Having passed the year, I was offered my first full-time job and it is a role I have continued to progress in. Bristol City Futsal Club has also been established during my time with the Trust and having impressed at the trials I am have been a key feature in the club’s starting line-up and my leadership skills have seen me be appointed the club’s captain.

I am continuing to develop my knowledge within the sector of work and am continually looking to improve by getting additional qualifications. Sport is a sector I have a real passion for and it is one I feel I thrive within and one I am learning from hugely.