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PNE Student Reflects On First Year

6 July 2017

Preston North End student Oliver Wells comments on his first year on the education course after it reaches its conclusion.

Joining the programme back in September as a late starter, Oliver has since thrived, in the classroom and on the pitch with particular involvement in Preston North End's Premier League Kicks programme a particular highlight.

Oliver volunteers every weekend to offer support in North End's Kicks Programme - a programme which sees fully qualified coaches from Preston North End Community and Education Trust deliver sessions to deprived areas in Preston.

The sessions provide young people with the opportunity to take part in weekly football sessions using football as an escapism from daily challenges in a safe and welcoming environment.

Oliver is a part of this team that delivers this safe haven, and finds particular enjoyment in reaching these youngsters who may not have enjoyed such an opportunity previously.

Speaking to the Trust's website, Oliver said: "I help out at PNE's kicks sessions every Friday and Saturday evening. I did it once initially but really liked it so I've just picked it up and been there ever since. I like knowing that we're getting kids off the streets and getting them to do something that they like.

"You're not just working as a coach, you're working as a human being. You're talking to them if they're down and just trying to get them involved in as much as possible.

"I've also been to the odd school and helped out with PNE's Premier League Primary Stars Programme and enjoyed it. It's a slightly different atmosphere to the kicks but it's still good and varied."

Oliver's involvement in the Kicks sessions is largely down to his involvement in the education programme at Preston North End. Here, Oliver undergoes a Level Two Diploma in Sport and Exercise combining his studies with playing football as a representative of Preston North End in regional football and Futsal sessions, a blend which first appealed to the North End student when he joined the course.

"I started initially at Myerscough College but it just wasn't for me," he continued.

"I saw an advertisement about this course on Facebook so I rang up. I then went for an interview, came in and spoke to them and they offered me a place.

"I have a passion for football which comes from my Grandad. He's played ever since he was a kid and he's been a PNE fan so I've just followed in his footsteps.

"I like being able to play football and wear the kit," added Oliver. "I also enjoy the lessons and the interesting things you learn."

Now that Oliver has completed his Level Two Diploma, the teenager has his sets set on the next step up the ladder at Preston North End with plenty of experience in and out of the classroom under his belt.

"In September I'm going onto the Level Three Diploma," added Oliver. "I want to get that Level Three and then look at my options, see if I can get a job coaching and use the experience I've gained from the course and see where it takes me.

"It's been a really good first year though; some of the work is quite challenging but it's been a good one for me."

If like Oliver, you're looking to pursue a path in community coaching, Preston North End offers unique and bespoke educational course tailored to each individual.

The club, alongside the Community and Education Trust offer both a Level Two and Level Three Diploma in Sport and Exercise as well as a Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development.

For a more extensive overview of each course, head over the education page here. Alternatively, you can contact the education team directly on 01772 693309 or email education@pne.com.


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