Ignite Sport > News and Blogs > Oxford apprenticeship experts Ignite Training celebrates 25th birthday!

An Oxfordshire firm which specialises in apprenticeship training and sports coaching is celebrating its 25th birthday this week – and its founder remains as passionate as ever.

Ignite Sport launched in 1999 and delivered holiday camps and after school clubs as part of plans to inspire people to become the best version of themselves through the power of sport and participation.

Founder and CEO Justin Merritt started the business in Thame and has since moved across Oxfordshire to its current head office in Marston, Oxford, where it employs more than 40 coaches and tutors along with a dynamic office team who lead the company’s present day operation.

The business has since added to its portfolio and formed Ignite Training and Velocity Football.

The Ignite Training team works in partnership with professional sports clubs, schools, charities and organisations across the UK by providing apprenticeship training in multiple spaces including management and leadership, teaching, content creation and coaching.

Ignite’s foundations remain ever present too, with coaches delivering a full-time football-based educational academy plus school sport, holiday camp and junior and youth football sessions to support the provision of sports participation locally.

Justin – who started the business independently with no outside investment – is pleased to celebrate such a significant milestone with his colleagues.

“It’s been a huge journey since the delivery of our first school sessions before the turn of the millennium,” said Justin. “Our operation today is unrecognisable from our humble beginnings, and that’s thanks to the hard work and efforts of our incredible team.

“The business has experienced a huge period of change since our formation. Since 2020, our journey has shifted and taken our apprenticeship delivery and training to new levels.

"We're known for delivering trusted PE services, holiday camps and an educational football academy as well as employing hundreds of apprentice coaches. But separating our businesses by forming Ignite Training has seen a gear change and helped us grow our team of staff.

“In addition to supporting individuals to achieve goals and career aspirations through sport and business management, we’re also committed to providing a fit and competent workforce for organisations we partner with through our vocational qualifications.”

Today, Ignite Training works closely with local and national partners to achieve its goals including Oxford University, Oxfordshire Youth, Norwich City FC, Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City FC and Bristol Bears.

Sixteen years after it became a registered training provider, Justin said apprenticeship training represents the future of the business with Ignite’s services playing a key role in addressing skills gaps and boosting people’s employability.

“We’ve used our position as a training provider to establish a team of quality tutors who are experts across multiple professions and employment qualities,” said Justin.

“Addressing skills gaps remains our biggest challenge with more businesses reporting a lapse in skills required to complete jobs to a high standard, which is affecting employers’ ability to grow their operation.

“Apprenticeships provide the answer by blending real-life, on-the-job, experiences with quality and tailored education which is relevant to the learner’s role.

“It’s often misunderstood that apprenticeships serve school leavers and those wishing to work in manual roles only. Today, they serve all sectors and can benefit both new and existing employees wishing to upskill and take their career to the next level.”

Further information about Ignite Training and its vocational qualification provisions is available online via www.ignitetraininguk.com

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0300 303 0890


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