The All Things team visited Moulton College, Northampton to speak to Craig Jackson, Director of Further Education Curriculum and Student Experience, to discuss their sports courses and academies, the facilities and why Moulton College believe that sports in the further education system is crucial for the development of our future sportsmen and industry professionals:
We like to ensure that our sports academies get the best possible training from professionals. Most schools have sports academies, but what they don’t have is the standard of coaching, the strong links with all the professional sports teams in the county and only five other colleges across the country offer the same level of professionalism that we do, hence why people choose Moulton College for sport. The quality of the coaching is much higher compared to a PE Teacher.
The way we set up our sports curriculum is that we have general sport and then we have 11 different sports academies who are all linked with the major sports clubs within the county. For example, the rugby academy have about 80 students enrolled and they are linked with the Northampton Saints and have a director of Rugby, who used to be a Saints player. We employ 8 Saints coaches to train the academy for eight hours a week and that applies to every other academy for their respective sport. Therefore, we hope this is something that students are attracted to and we hope that these academy students go on to become professional players.
The Facilities we provide are world class, including our new athletics track which opened last year, a sports and therapy and injury rehabilitation centre, two hockey pitches of which are the same standard as the Olympic hockey pitch, climbing walls for our outdoor education students, two sports halls and we also make use of facilities outside the college including the County Cricket Club where the Cricket academy students go and train with the coaches. We are extremely lucky to have strong connections with all the professional clubs around Northamptonshire, including Northamptonshire County Golf Club, one of the most prestigious clubs in the county, where our Golf Academy students go to train.
It’s huge because it gives people an option on where to go and for some students, this is the first step onto the career ladder to employment as lots of people who go into employment go into careers like coaching, personal training and sports massage. If they don’t go straight to employment, students most likely progress onto degree level courses and go into careers such as sports and exercise scientists, physiotherapists, sports scientists and sports development officers. Some students even go on to becoming PE Teachers or higher education lecturers.
So without sport happening at the college, none of these careers would happen, also if we didn’t have our sports academies, most students wouldn’t bother going into education and we would only attract ten students! Sports keeps them in education longer and at a higher level than they would have had previously because it gives them discipline and a sense of achievement to be coached by professionals.
We have a Football, Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, Swimming, Triathlon, Basketball, Hockey, and a Golf academy. We also encourage Wednesday afternoon sports, such as Netball, where weekly county fixtures take place.
There is a mixture of different genders and different teams at the college. There is actually a significant amount of females across all the sports academies and courses including the sports massage and personal training courses. The stigma surrounding sport being only for males and not for females has drastically changed since the Lottery Funding has come in to give the opportunity for more people to do the courses, including females. Therefore, it doesn’t feel like a male dominated environment anymore and especially with the growth of the health and fitness industry, it’s become a trend and that’s why more people want a career within the industry.
Lottery Funding has made a huge impact in making more opportunities available for individuals, both for professional athletes and for those within the working environment who support those professional athletes, but what it has also done is raise the profile for sport. 20 years ago, there wasn’t an industry for sport. Now, there are jobs in sport and because there are significantly more jobs in sport, we need those people to come to college so we can educate them on these careers in sport. We need people to work in these industries as the industry is huge compared to how it used to be.
We have grown significantly in our sports student numbers. We started our student recruitment process back in October 2016 for the next academic year. We have started an athletics academy following on from our new athletics track we have opened, we hope to add another sports academy under our belts which will be a Martial Arts academy and we hope to continue developing our existing sports programmes.
I would say it’s three things:
The facilities we have which are world class.
High level coaching as they are all professional coaches who have been in the industry, including 3 Saints coaches, Luke Graham as head of football who played for Northampton Town and other professionals who are still active in sport.
The lecturers who prominently don’t come from a teaching background, but from a professional background. We want our students to go away with not only a certificate of education, but with experience and knowledge of the industry.
If you would like to find out more about Moulton College and the sports facilities, courses and academies they provide, ring on 01604 491131 for more information or visit: