Where are you based for work and what do you do?
I work at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College – WISE (West of England Institute of Specialist Education) campus. But I live in Stoke, as I am a remote flexible worker. I’m an internal quality assurer in the advanced apprenticeship in sporting excellence. (NEWSFLASH from Sally!! I have also picked up that Jon has become the Director of Coach Education at the British American Football Coaches Association this month – well done Jon!)
Did you train for a specific job?
No, it’s quite a unique job but my experience means I am a good fit. I have been teaching on BE Ed courses since 1994 to degree level and I have taught a PGCE PE course. That, combined with my volunteer work with British American Football means I have a good insight into how the structures work in my field. I can understand challenges right across the levels from grassroots to CEOs.
What are you doing now? What’s a typical day for you?
The less interesting work is being at home on email chasing registers, tracking information and minor issues with students. I also look to upgrade the course and share information with coaches. And of course there is other educational and admin stuff. It has to happen though!
The more interesting work involves me being anywhere in England conducting perhaps a Quality Assurance visit – I meet with coaches and assessors or I might observe a delivery session. I might give feedback constructively and this could be in boxing, judo, fencing, rugby, table tennis, wheelchair basketball or basketball – any of these and in either gender.
The qualification is relatively generic and its about teaching and learning in that sport, not how to play it. It’s about understanding tactical strategy and physical movement. They’re all the same – they just have different frameworks. It also helps me think differently about my own sport (American Football). We work with some coaches who are off to Rio!
And finally I could be meeting coaches or managers about funding or apprenticeship reforms, development in coaching or technology in sport.
What are your aspirations for your career in the future?
To be in a paid employment role where I am working with coaches, clubs and players within British American Football – which is my passion and I still play! (Note from Sally – Jon posts a lot of photos of him in action on his FB page).
Can you tell me about a defining moment of your career?
Yes, I think it was early on in my teaching career; I’d carried out some research on physical activity and someone left their role and he was one of the top people in the A level PE world in those days and he was seen as so awesome by the students that it made me step up my game so that I became just as awesome – it gave me something to prove!
That need to prove came from my Dad deselecting me in American Football and not wanting to show bias in favour of his son (ouch! – says Sally) – I have to prove myself to me.
Who helped you along the way? Did you have formal or informal mentors?
I have had a very strong team around me that has supported me from the outset. And I have worked with loads of great coaches and teachers, family and friends.
Have you changed direction in your career? Did you ever swerve off course?
No – I didn’t used to be so confident but I have always wanted to work in sport.
What are the worst and best bits about your job?
The best bit is that I work with an awesome team of people that are above, below and around me – although I consider us to all be equals. And I have a sense of purpose to improve the lives of coaches and Athletes. And I have autonomy!
The worst bit is the time spent travelling and the demands of being away from home and my family. Although I get the opportunity to listen to a lot of leadership audio books when I’m driving.
Have you ever considered a Board/NED/trustee role?
Currently I am on the Board of British American Football as Director of Coaching.
(See update above – Jon had to resign and re-apply for his role of Director of Coach Education so, well done again Jon!) I am also on the Board of my daughters’ nursery, which is a charity.
What helps you to stay interested/excited in what you do?
It’s the feedback and interaction I have with people – its either really positive or it forces me to challenge my thinking. And I like that – it should mean we both come away from the interaction with a way forward and have learnt from it.