Seventeen people from the local community took their first step towards attaining an FA Level One Coaching Football qualification at Villa Park on Tuesday, thanks to the Supporting Our Own small grants scheme.
The Aston Villa Foundation offered 17 fully subsidised places on the course to residents of Erdington, Perry Barr and Ladywood in order to help activate football projects and enhance local club coaching.
Following the application process, places were offered to a diverse range of budding coaches, ranging in age from 16-52-years-old, and the group arrived at the Academy Building to begin the course this week.
Corinne Mitchell, a UEFA A candidate coach and FA Tutor who combines her role as a Workforce Development Officer for the Foundation with her Aston Villa Ladies coaching duties, is leading the course and she is determined to help the coach’s gain as much as possible from the qualification.
She said: “Getting onto the coaching ladder can be one of the hardest steps to take for a lot of people – owing to finances, time or personal issues, so the fact that we’ve been able to offer it fully subsidised is fantastic.
“We had a strong response once we announced we were running the FA Level One course, and everybody that we have selected has an appetite to make a positive impact through coaching in the local area.
“This course is not just of benefit to the 17 who hope to gain their qualification, but also to those players that they will come into contact with in the future as a result of the doors this will help open for them.”
Tuesday was the first of six dates in June that the group will attend in order to complete the course, with all modules set by Birmingham FA.
The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football, which usually costs £165, provides an introduction to coaching the game and working with players from under-7s to adult age groups.
The grants have been made possible thanks to a donation from the Aston Villa Lions Clubs, as well as from the proceeds of the Fifty50 matchday draw, which takes place at every Aston Villa home game.
Supporting Our Own, the club’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy which launched in September, was introduced to support the delivery of projects and activities in and around Birmingham to promote sport, health, wellbeing, education and inclusive opportunities.