Gymnastics Modern Apprenticeship

Posted on 23/01/2023 in Club News

Gymnastics Modern Apprenticeship

We caught up with Eric Dawes from Sports Academy of Scotland after his recent trip to Orkney Gymnastics Club to welcome the latest modern apprentice to a Scottish gymnastics club.

The Sports Academy of Scotland

My wife Gill and I started our first business working with modern apprentices almost 22 years ago called Dawes Training Consultancy Ltd. In 2007 we realised that our employer partners were mostly from sports, leisure and recreation so we decided to rename the company The Sports Academy of Scotland Ltd. 

We have worked with well over a thousand apprentices from across Scotland who have been employed in sports, recreation and leisure by businesses of all sizes. Specifically for gymnastics we have worked in partnership with Hamilton, Auchterarder, Lunar, and Garioch gymnastics clubs, and most recently Orkney.

What is a modern apprentice?

The modern apprentices are all school leavers and generally under the age of 20 at the start of their apprenticeship year. They are employed to work at least 25 hours per week by their gymnastics club employer. Over the course of their year the apprentices gain an SVQ L3 in Leisure Management from the SQA as well as their Certificate in Leisure Management from Skillsactive. In addition, the apprentices get onto the gymnastics coaching ladder and gain additional professional development experiences as prescribed by the employer.

What are the benefits of a modern apprenticeship to a young person, and to thier club? 

A modern apprenticeship programme offers a great degree of security and stability to the apprentice in what might well be their first job since leaving school, and the old saying ‘earning and learning’ is still true. They are involved in a busy week of gymnastics delivery across all ages and in helping the club develop and flourish. In all cases the apprentice has time to work on their own gymnastics development if that is important to them.

The club will have a new, focused and dedicated full time staff member who they will most likely have assisted to flourish in their educational and developmental years as a member of the club. Developing an apprenticeship pathway into employment through club membership is a fantastic achievement for any club and, in my opinion, a pathway such as this has given those clubs and the apprentices  immeasurable benefits. 

Funding for modern apprenticeships

The club/employer must pay the apprentice a salary of no less than £4.81 per hour - this figure will go up slightly on 1 April each year. There is no upper limit on what the hourly rate might be offered to the apprentice. In addition, the coaching qualification and additional appropriate CPD opportunities would also be funded by the employer. All other costs for the registration, delivery and certification of the Leisure Management qualification are met by the Sports Academy of Scotland Ltd.

How long does a modern apprenticeship last?

Our modern apprenticeship programme takes 12 months but can be extended slightly if circumstances require e.g. after an extended period of ill health.

What can the modern apprentice do for a club?

The club has full autonomy over the modern apprentice’s timetable and the apprentice should be expected to be involved in all club activities which are appropriate to their developing ability. Activities might include: coaching across age groups, administration duties, club development, fundraising, event planning, competition involvement, community outreach projects, social media management etc.

How can clubs find out more?

First port of call would be to get in touch with me on 07980 824646 or by email at The language used around modern apprenticeshipss, SQA and Skillsactive can be quite daunting and it’s my job to simplify and make the process easier to understand. In all cases the club will likely know the candidate that they would like to put into their modern apprenticeship programme. 

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is the national agency for the provision and management of modern apprentices across Scotland. Their web pages might be a good place to look for further information however contacting me initially by mobile or email might help cut through the language barriers! 

> Find out more about SDS

> Find out more about The Sports Academy of Scotland 

> Email Eric 


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