This week England manager, Roy Hodgson, visited St. George’s Park and spoke to 49 black and Asian coaches participating in The FA led bursary scheme, COACH.
Working in conjunction with the Premier League, Football League, the League Managers Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association, the scheme aims to increase diversity on the touchlines of English professional football by supporting black, Asian and minority ethnic coaches to further their skills, qualifications and experiences.
“We know there's a lack of BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) coaches in the top flight but we’ve seen both Chris Hughton [Norwich manager] and Chris Powell [Charlton Athletic manager] win silverware domestically and Terry Connor is a well-respected coach across the game,” explained Hodgson.
A principal feature of the programme is the opportunity for the COACH candidates to gain vital experience at Premier League and Football League clubs over the course of one full season.
These placements allow the candidates to observe and participate in regular coaching sessions, with constructive feedback from the clubs’ coaches adding to their learning experience.
For Hodgson, whose former clubs West Brom and Fulham are among the clubs offering the experience, it is an especially important part of the programme and one that he hopes all of the coaches will take advantage of.
"It's fantastic that the programme gives them the chance to work and learn at a Premier League or Football League club and I'm pleased to see my old clubs Fulham and West Brom are on board as well.
"These coaches should make the most of that experience and learn from the expertise of those around them as we never stop learning as coaches, regardless of the level we're working at.”
For the candidates themselves, Hodgson finished with these final words of encouragement:
“Hopefully, we'll be stood here in a few years and talking about your success story to young hopefuls who can follow in your footsteps.”
To find out more about the COACH bursary scheme click here.