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iCoachKids: Innovative Education & Training for a Specialist Children & Youth Coaching Workforce
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background to Project iCoachKidsThe figure of the coach is central in 21st century Europe (CoachLearn, 2016). The development of a suitably educated coaching workforce has been recognised as a priority area at the highest levels of European policy. The European Commission has also expressed the need to bring coaching qualifications into national frameworks and thus align them with wider tools such as EQF, ECTS, ECVET and EQAVET. Where coaching qualifications already sit within national frameworks, they tend to do so within the vocational education and training (VET) sector. Enhancing the quality and status of VET is a European Commission priority. Member States have made a commitment to investing in VET to raise the effectiveness and attractiveness of VET qualifications. These policies seek to increase the employability of people, reduce skills' mismatches, facilitate the transition into employment and promote personal development and quality of life (European Commission, Riga Conclusions, 2015). Coaching qualifications must therefore be re-considered in light of these developments. This is specially true in the case of youth sport. Approximately 80% of the 6-10 million coaches in Europe work with children. Most importantly, the majority of them are not qualified or hold low level qualifications. Those qualified tend to hold a generic qualification that does not prepare them to work specifically with 5-12 year-olds. As a result, there is a vast skills-gap between the world of coach education for coaches of children and the needs of the labour market. In turn, children are not receiving high quality coaching which increases attrition rates and reduces the chances of sport having a positive impact in their life. To start solving these issues, iCoachKids proposes the following project outputs:1. Report the children’s coaching workforce in the seven European countries represented in the partnership to better understand its demography and needs 2. Case Study Compilation to capture examples of best practice in the education of children's coaches in VET.3. Development of a European Coaching Children Curriculum to guide organisations wishing to develop coaching qualifications in this area4. Building of 3 Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) for coaches of children covering the curriculum which can be used by VET institutions to facilitate the mass training of children's coaches.5. Study guides to support the MOOC candidates pre, during and post course.6. Creation of iCoachKids Online Platform to host the MOOCs and serve as a hub and repository of information for the European community of children's coaches.Number and Profile of ParticipantsiCoachKids is led by Leeds Beckett University and comprises a consortium of leading organisations in coach education such as the International Council for Coaching Excellence, the Hungarian Coaches Association, Sport Ireland-Coaching Ireland, Universidad Europea Madrid, NOC-NSF, Lithuanian Sport University and the Royal Belgium Football Association.The project aims to impact on the following target populations:1. National coordinating bodies for coach education2. VET providers and National Federations3. Coach Employers4. Coaches Associations5. Coach Developers6. Sport CoachesResults, Impact and Long-Term BenefitsiCoachKids will result in:- more accessible and inclusive VET training opportunities for sport coaches working in the youth sport domain- increased employability and mobility- a suitably trained children's coaches workforce across the EUIn turn, the above will contribute to:- increased sport participation and satisfaction of European children- enhanced physical and mental wellbeing of European children- the use of sport as a tool for integration in Europe- positive health and economic outcomesiCoachKids is a project built with long-term sustainability in mind. ICCE has committed to guaranteeing the impact of the project beyond the initial three years through the mass dissemination of the outputs and the regular upkeep the online platform for years to come.
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