England Football Learning’s Mentee Development Programme is underway for the 2021/22 season, as 10 aspirational coaches came together at St. George’s Park this week to begin their learning journey.
Supported by The Chelsea Foundation, the Mentee Development Programme provides an opportunity for five female and five male coaches to gain invaluable experience and exposure to The FA’s Technical Department, as well as developmental experience with professional clubs.
The initiative is aligned to our wider coach inclusion and diversity programme, which is aimed at addressing the stubborn inequalities for coaches from Black, Asian, and mixed heritage backgrounds to develop and thrive in the game.
Each of our 10 coaches will receive a bespoke and agile learning programme tailored to their needs and ultimate goal of working in the professional game. They will also receive opportunities such as observing England national team development camps, study visits to professional clubs’ academies, season-long one-to-one mentoring, presentation and communication training, tactical and analysis workshops, and interview and CV masterclasses.
The programme officially kicked off this week at St. George’s Park, with mentees taking part in one-to-one mentoring workshops, skills analysis sessions and observing presentations from communications experts.
The mentees were also formally welcomed by Head of FA Education Lucy Pearson. Speaking on the positive impact of the initiative, she commented: "It is a pleasure to welcome colleagues to the Mentee Development Programme here at St George’s Park. The Programme presents each one of the 10 coaches with a fantastic opportunity to develop their insight and understanding of coaching excellence, to observe professional and national coaches in action and to access parts of the game for the first time over a season-long period. FA Education is wholly committed to supporting coaches from under-represented groups to fulfil their potential and thereby create a coaching workforce that truly represents the whole of our football community. The group shows the depth of talent that exists and we are delighted to be working with such talented and passionate people."
Coach Inclusion & Diversity Manager and programme-lead Butch Fazal was also present on the day to provide an introduction to the programme. He said: “I am delighted to welcome this aspirational group of coaches to the Mentee Development Programme. Across the season they will be exposed to a number of support and development opportunities throughout the game, and I am confident they will grab every learning opportunity and gain invaluable experience to accelerate their aim of securing a role in the professional game. I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Chelsea Foundation in supporting the project.”
This year's programme highlights our ongoing work with The Chelsea Foundation to ensure that the game reflects all communities across the country. Simon Taylor, Head of The Chelsea Foundation, said: “It’s great that the Chelsea Foundation and The FA are continuing to work together to offer support for coaches from underrepresented communities. It is important that football reflects the communities it serves and the Mentee Development Programme is creating a range of new opportunities throughout the game. Congratulations to the current cohort and we look forward to watching their progression as the programme develops.”
See a selection of some of the best photos from the day at St. George's Park here: