The University’s England Rugby Mentorship Programme began in 2010 and is the first of its kind between a university and England Rugby.
The initiative is developing and mentoring a workforce that supports the delivery of England Rugby targets. As well as helping develop industry mentors, the project supports employability, giving students a head start in the workplace. Students have also used social media to create a peer learning community.
Students are recruited on to a three-year mentored internship programme which runs alongside their degree studies and supports local rugby clubs and schools, as well as the students’ individual development.
So far, 20 students/graduates have been involved in the programme. Some have gone on to work for England Rugby, as community rugby coaches, and others have remained in the sport and gone on to teach.
The programme has provided over 100 qualification and CPD opportunities to Solent students, providing the opportunity to work in a team environment in multiple situations and putting studies into practice through real-world learning.
Students have the opportunity to referee at county, school and college tournaments; organise a major schools county tournament; provide coaching to local schools; and engage with Hampshire county player development and youth sides. They also support player development at local clubs, from youth to adult levels.
Students are able to engage with a wide variety of professionals and organisations through England Rugby conferences, coaching and CPD, schools/club delivery, and mentorship. They also communicate with parents, children, officials and fellow coaches, and help deliver projects in deprived areas, taking the game to the harder to reach communities.
Find out what happened when our students watched an England training session
Don’t just take our word for it
The rugby coaching programme at Solent University was without doubt the best possible training for a career in rugby coaching. The way the scheme runs ensures you have the perfect balance between vocational and academic studies but also allows you the time to enjoy university life to its full.
My highlight was working as part of the Hampshire CB program for two of the three years and also coaching on the Twickenham pitch before England beat New Zealand. The variety of environments I worked in provided me with the necessary experience to be able to become a community rugby coach within the RFU.
Ben Wills, Solent graduate and England Rugby player development officer
The close working relationship and trust between University staff and the England Rugby development team has developed a first-class programme which provides meaningful opportunities for students. For rugby, it provides an extended quality workforce which allows the game to be developed to a wider section of the rugby community.
The programme has been a huge success for the University, England Rugby, the students and, most importantly, the local community.
Ivan Torpey, England Rugby development officer
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