Wayne Allison is hoping that The FA’s coaching bursary programme can help inject impetus into the number of BAME coaches working at all levels of the game.
The former Sheffield United, Bristol City and Huddersfield Town striker now works as The FA’s BAME Project Manager at St. George’s Park.
And after helping to introduce the new bursary programme which will run for the next five years following a £1.4m investment from The FA, Allison is now working hard to make a difference.
“I’m hoping that at the end of the five years, we won’t be talking about it anymore, it will be the norm,” said Allison.
“It’s a massive initiative and drive because BAME coaching is under-represented in the men’s and women’s game but in years four and five, we might be in a situation where we don’t need to have a drive anymore which would be fantastic.
“The new programme builds on the successes of the COACH bursary programme formerly run by Brendon Batson.
“We’re trying to improve that talent pool in the top level of the game by helping coaches get their UEFA A Licence and Pro Licence and in the grassroots game, we’re trying to help with bursaries for the UEFA B Licence.
“That is where we feel we can really make a difference and with a £1.4m investment over five years, we’re having a good go at it.”
As Allison refers to, the number of BAME coaches across both the professional and grassroots game remains low in comparison to its participants.
And the man who was affectionately known as ‘Chief’ throughout his playing career believes the new scheme is something that anyone looking to kick-start their coaching pathway should look to take advantage of.
“Grassroots is where it starts for everyone, all coaches will have worked in grassroots at some stage and it’s where you can do your coaching hours,” he explains.
“The grassroots and UEFA B Licence is really important, we’re not saying that you have to go into the professional game, because some people can have a fantastic career as a coach in grassroots and attaining a B Licence would equip them with all of the necessary skills that they need.
“You can then use the B Licence as an entry point into the academy system so it’s an important qualification in what route you want to take.
“Our bursary programme is aimed at aspiring BAME male and all female coaches to try and help maximise their opportunities in football at grassroots and the elite level.”
The programme is only a few months old but there has already been a lot of interest and participation, with those coaches who were already part of the coaching community.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from the grassroots because we give 200 bursaries at that level every single year and in the pro game we’ve had a massive uptake of clubs nominating BAME staff for the bursaries,” revealed Allison.
“We’ve also got about 14 or 15 BAME coaches who have already shown an interest in the Pro Licence so it’s out there and people are taking advantage, which is brilliant.
“Applicants will already be in the system and will be Level Two coaches, so they’ve got to show the desire and willingness to be involved in the programme.
“Their coaching action plan is important and there to help them all, but they’ve got to have the desire to coach first and foremost.”