Working in partnership with Essential Sports Training Ltd

Essential Sports Training Ltd work with 1st4sport to deliver apprenticeships that are beneficial to both learners and employers.

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Essential Sports Training Ltd is an independent training organisation that operates in partnership with colleges throughout London and the Home Counties. They specialise in high-quality apprenticeships in the Active Leisure and Learning sector, national governing body coaching awards, leadership, fitness, and education and teaching qualifications.


Having started by specialising in football coaching and associated qualifications, Mark Leigh, Director of Essential Sports Training Ltd, decided to offer apprenticeships as a natural extension to their portfolio.

Why 1st4sport Qualifications works for Essential Sports Training Ltd

Mark had worked with 1st4sport Qualifications previously, delivering football qualifications, and wanted to grow the business. The Intermediate Apprenticeship in Activity Leadership was a natural extension and 1st4sport Qualifications the obvious partner. Essential Sports Training Ltd has delivered this apprenticeship over the last academic year, and started to deliver the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Development in September 2012.

Mark appreciates that employers look for both qualifications and experience in a potential employee and likes the fact that the qualifications give learners the opportunity to have what is ostensibly an ‘extended interview’ with a potential employer.

Mark found the approval process to be transparent and very straightforward and, as he says, ‘as robust and thorough as you hope it would be’.

‘And the whole 1st4sport Qualifications team is very customer-focused. If you phone up with a challenge, it doesn’t matter who you speak to, they will take ownership until you have the solution’, he states.


The outcomes from the first cohort of learners are very positive. Essential Sports Training Ltd has achieved a 100% success and retention rate, which is seen by all involved as an excellent result for the first year of delivery.

The students themselves are very positive about their experience.

‘I have enjoyed the course and feel that I have learnt a lot from it. I have grown in confidence as a coach and feel I now have the skills to help me get a full-time job as a coach.’

Essential Sports Training Ltd Apprentice

In delivering the apprenticeship, Mark and his colleagues have developed good relationships with the 1st4sport Qualifications external verifiers. ‘I see external verification as a positive part of the process, with us benefiting from examples of good practice from elsewhere, as well as feeling able to suggest improvements based on our practical experience’, he explains.

‘I have found the Intermediate Apprenticeship in Activity Leadership to be beneficial for both learners and employers, which is fundamental to the success of a programme like this. The fact that at least 50% of the learners are going to progress onto the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Development, many remaining with the same employer, speaks volumes for the quality of the qualifications provided by 1st4sport Qualifications.’

Mark Leigh, Director,
Essential Sports Training Ltd

> Find out what Essential Sports Training’s apprenticeships look like.

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