It is a pioneering and inspiring coaching programme which gives young people in Glasgow the chance to develop their skills through an apprentice scheme.

The Coach Core programme, which is being run in Glasgow Life venues, has helped young people find their direction while also helping others.

As the charitable trust which runs culture and leisure services in the city on behalf of the city council, Glasgow Life became involved in the scheme in 2013 in partnership with The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

It is a full-time, year-long modern apprenticeship programme for young people living in Glasgow, aged 16 to 21-year-old and in the past eight years, there has been 80 Coach Core graduates. It has helped them on their way to further education and employment.

And for 20-year-old Amber Campbell she credits the opportunity she had with Coach Core for where she is today.

She had been homed schooled and at the age of 16 didn’t have any formal qualifications. She found out about Coach Core through Skills Development Scotland.

“I have always played sport and was keen on gymnastics and martial arts growing up, but having been home schooled I didn’t have qualifications. My skills advisor told me about Coach Core and I managed to get a place,” said Ms Campbell.

“It appealed to me because there was a combination training and an apprenticeship. Working while learning seemed to be a great idea. Both the tutors and the coaches were always supportive and encouraging.”

After the one year course, Ms Campbell applied for a gymnastics coaching role and has never looked back.

“I’m a full-time coach now with Glasgow Life and it is very rewarding. I have also been a member of the Coach Core Youth Board since it launched in January 2021. It’s made up of 10 individuals across the UK Who are current and past apprentices as well as individuals that have not been involved with coach core previously.”

Coach Core apprentices work a 30 hour a week contract and throughout the year work through a Modern Apprenticeship Qualification in Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing, working specifically towards a SVQ Level 2 in Sports Coaching.

It is the kind of programme which former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Sir Harry Burns said was a way of helping to build back better.

Writing exclusively in The Herald last month, Sir Harry said Glasgow Life’s mentoring activities change young people's lives and improves their wellbeing.

Sir Harry said: “Those who question the costs of such programmes should realise that, ultimately, it reduces illnesses and social problems and enhances employment. People are less likely to get into trouble and are more likely to get jobs and pay taxes.”

Coach Core was created on the back of the London 2012 Olympic games, with the aim to support young people to become part of a skilled workforce that provides sport to deprived communities that may be impacted by antisocial behaviour and crime. The programme has evolved from a training programme in its infancy to an established Modern Apprenticeship delivered by Glasgow Sport and is now supported by the Coach Core Foundation.

The sport economy in Scotland generated 64,800 sport-related jobs (full time equivalent), corresponding to 2.7 per cent of total employment in Scotland. Sport-related employment has increased by 13 per cent since 2014. This has led to an increased demand for qualified and competent coaches to deliver sport and physical activity at all levels.

For Ismet Cansiz his Coach Core apprenticeship led to his current career.

The 23-year-old, who now works for Police Scotland in a civilian role, says his experience on the programme was invaluable, but it was the sense of fulfilment he saw in others he found the most rewarding.

“I had just left high school when I began the apprenticeship programme at the age of 18,” said Mr Cansiz. “I had been interested in martial arts, but the course opened up other sports for me. I began coaching for people with disabilities and also focused on lifeguarding and swimming coaching.

“I taught someone who was blind to swim and it was about adapting the coaching and helping with movement and motion in the water. To work with someone and see the sense of fulfilment is very rewarding.”

The Herald has launched A Fair Deal For Glasgow campaign, calling for the city’s venues and treasures to be funded appropriately and for both the Scottish and UK governments to come together to deliver a new funding plan for the city’s culture and leisure services.

It was prompted by figures that showed the crippling impact the pandemic has had on the council’s arms-length organisation, which runs the city’s culture and leisure

Glasgow Life lost £38 million in income last year. while Glasgow City Council has reached an agreement for it to receive a guaranteed £100m a year for the next three or four years, Glasgow Life has only been able to open 90 of its 171 venues. Without further funds, it cannot open any further sites.