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Ignite Sport UK apprentice Abbie Thorne’s leadership qualities were recognised at the weekend when she captained Oxford City Women’s’ first team.
Abbie, who is completing a Level 2 Community Activator Coach apprenticeship, got off to a winning start in her role. The Hoops beat Watford Ladies Development in a 6-3 thriller at the Velocity Stadium.
The 17-year-old joined Ignite Sport UK last year after completing her GCSE exams at Fitzharrys School in Abingdon.
She explained how delivering daily PE lessons to pupils at Sunningwell, Clifton Hampden and Radley Primary Schools in Abingdon helped her to grow in confidence and develop key skills including leadership, creativity and listening.
Abbie also works closely with Ignite Sport UK coach Aliyah Anthony to deliver our Wildcats Girls’ Football sessions on Saturday mornings.
“My confidence has grown since starting my apprenticeship,” said Abbie. “I believe it has helped with my football too.
“Accepting the role as captain meant I had to be a good communicator with my teammates on and off the pitch. I needed to be that positive voice on the field, the one that set an example and took responsibility when things were tough.
“These are skills I have developed through my apprenticeship at Ignite Sport UK.”
Abbie progressed into Oxford City Women’s’ first-team as a 15-year-old after impressing for the U23s. Currently, she plays as left wing-back but can adapt her position to play left-back or right-back too.
She plans to align her playing commitments with a Level 3 apprenticeship next year to further strengthen her knowledge, skills and behaviours of the sector.
Her passion for coaching was sparked two years ago when she completed a sports coaching work experience placement with Ignite.
Abbie added: “Sport is my number one passion - it’s always interested me. After finishing my GCSEs, an apprenticeship at Ignite Sport UK was my best opportunity.
“My work experience placement helped me understand the role of a sports coach and I’d advise anyone at school considering a career in sports coaching to do the same.
“An apprenticeship has allowed me to establish key life skills through fulfilling the role of a sports coach, receiving off the job training, working in a range of environments and meeting new people in a variety of coaching environments that could lead to future employment.
“I get paid for my work too, so there are no barriers to an apprenticeship from a financial point of view.”
For further information about apprenticeship opportunities with Ignite Sport UK, visit Sports Apprenticeships | Ignite Sport (ignitesportuk.com). Alternatively, watch our showcase video which explains more about Intermediate Level 2 and advanced Level 3 apprenticeships.