Apprentice of the Year won by Zain Khan

The social mobility charity using sports and apprenticeships to change young lives, Coach Core, hosted its annual awards ceremony on February 8th at The Oval in London.

The awards bring together people from across Coach Core’s network to celebrate the power of apprenticeships to get people into a career with passion and purpose, and the power of coaching to increase the levels of physical and mental health in communities across the country.

Across 10 years, 818 Coach Core apprentices have been able to  run sessions for an estimated 11 million participants.

Zain Khan, from Birmingham, took home the coveted Apprentice of the Year award, for his work mentoring children with behavioural issues in school, and creating a youth-led youth club that delivers sports sessions as well as workshops on guns-and-gangs, first aid, art and more. He has supported students dealing with incidents of racism, self-harm and drug abuse with compassion and empathy.

Ahsan Sakander, from Leeds, took home the Graduate of the Year award celebrating the success of a young person who has completed their apprenticeship. While acknowledging that support is sometimes needed, Ahsan doesn’t let his physical or learning disabilities hold him back from achieving what he wants to. He works at White Rose Rugby delivering Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities sessions at one school and Level 1 & 2 Sports Leader awards in another. He also works on Holiday Activities and Food camps where he develops brilliant relationships with a number of children that lead to them trusting him to share concerns with him. This was particularly evident with a young autistic boy, who was selectively mute, yet was happy to explain to Ahsan verbally when he was having issues with sensory overload. He has also coached Mixed Ability Rugby internationally

Coach Core National Education Manager Paul Thompson said:

“The impact our employers and apprentices have on their communities is truly amazing, they are delivering sport and physical activity sessions to the people and places they know best, in parks, clubs and often their old schools. As relatable role models they can make their communities – which are often deprived or disempowered – happier and healthier places.”

Coach Core CEO Gary Laybourne said:

“We are so proud of all the Coach Core awards winners and nominees this year, and also extremely grateful to those individuals that have once again, gone above and beyond to support their apprentices. We wanted to move our end of year awards to coincide with the annual National Apprenticeships Week as it is only right we shine a spotlight on the efforts and incredible stories of all our winners in this special celebration week. Apprenticeships can not only improve career pathways but they can change a person’s life forever.” 
The Awards brought together apprentices, graduated apprentices, their employers and learning coaches, as well as supporters and other partners, to celebrate and highlight everything that makes Coach Core special. The ceremony was opened by a speech from England Blind Footballer and entrepreneur Azeem Amir – a member of the Coach Core Youth Board.

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