Saturday,22 July, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1336, (16 - 22 March 2017)
Saturday,22 July, 2017
Issue 1336, (16 - 22 March 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Premier Skills 10 years on

The British Council in Egypt and the English Premier League celebrate 10 years of their Premier Skills programme in Egypt this year.

The British Council
The British Council
Al-Ahram Weekly

Commemorating this successful scheme in Egypt, the British Council and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports are partnering to deliver Premier Skills until August 2019.

Premier Skills is a partnership between the Premier League and the British Council that uses football to inspire young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, and provide opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities to develop skills for employability and to raise their self-esteem.

From 11-17 March 2017, three Premier League coaches headed by Paul Hughes, have for the first time started working alongside 10 Egyptian coach educators, to train 60 coaches from both genders at the Gezira Youth Centre.

Each of these coaches will use their skills in training 200 children, aimed at cascading to 12,000 young people in total from this workshop alone. On Friday 17 March the workshop will conclude with Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz and Director of the British Council in Egypt Jeff Streeter signing a memorandum of understanding, followed by a press conference.

The accord will be signed at the Asmarat compound in Mokattam and will launch a one-day football festival for 180 children from Asmarat. Wadi Degla club is the main supporting partner for both the workshop and the festival.

The Premier Skills model for delivery sees Premier League Club coaches provide face to face training and education materials to local community coaches, youth leaders and teachers in countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, with a view to participants imparting their newly acquired skills to their peers and the young people back in their own schools and communities.

In Egypt, Premier Skills has trained 554 coaches, 50 referees and implemented 50 football-based community projects in 100 youth centres in 27 governorates, helping over 64,000 young people in the last 10 years.

The British Council and the Egyptian Ministry of Education and Vocational Education also worked together from December 2016 to February 2017 in training 150 PE teachers and 60 coaches. Together they are conveying these skills to 55,000 young people across all Egyptian governorates.

“Such workshops emphasise the important role of sports in society, where sport is viewed beyond health, fun or even luxury, but as an important channel through which values and principles are communicated. Premier Skills stresses the values of fair play, humility, loyalty and patriotism, as well as being a truly successful example of a sports development project,” Abdel-Aziz said.

Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said: “Premier Skills is a fantastic project that encourages young men and women around the world to get into sport, develop new skills, and positively influence their own local communities. Over the last 10 years participants have ranged from football coaches in Cape Town to sports teachers in Senegal and I have seen first hand the positive impact the project has had in those and many other countries.

“Premier Skills equips local coaches and teachers with the skills and knowledge to develop and co-ordinate their own sustainable football programmes. Thanks to this ‘train the trainer’ model, participants are constantly passing on what they have learnt to others. It is not just about playing football, but also encouraging confidence, developing employment opportunities and local partnerships,” Scudamore added.

Chief Executive of the British Council Sir Ciarán Devane said that they could not be prouder with the achievement the Premier Skills programme has done in the past 10 years. “The partnership has continued to grow, now operating in countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas, to enormous success. It brings together the Premier League’s massive global appeal and the British Council’s expertise in delivering projects which have tremendous impact.”

Streeter said he believed empowerment through sports was a creative way to help people – whether  young or old – to learn the skills needed to thrive in society. “In Egypt, the British Council focuses on working with women and girls in order to empower them with the leadership, communication, and sports skills that will help them with the challenges they face in daily life.”

Premier Skills was launched in 2007 with some fantastic success stories from the project, including Premier Skills participants who have gone on to run their own community football programmes, volunteers who now help deliver Premier Skills itself, and coaches who have connected via the project and now run community sport festivals. In total, more than 7,000 coaches and referees have taken part, and 6,000 teachers have gone through training to utilise the free English language learning resources. The programme has created opportunities for 1.2 million people in 29 countries.

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