The Premier Skills Initiative Comes to Pretoria

Premier Skills Program in Pretoria


Premier Skills, the global coach and referee development programme run by the Premier League and the British Council, is launching in Tshwane. Premier Skills will take place from 12 – 18 November 2017 with intensive training for 60 grassroots football coaches and 24 referees.

The programme sees Premier League club coaches provide face to face training and education materials to participants who will then be able to use and share their newly acquired skills to develop and co-ordinate projects in their own schools and communities.

Premier Skills uses football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world, drawing upon the global appeal of the Premier League and its expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network and track-record of delivery.

Through Premier Skills, young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and to raise their self-esteem.

This Phase One course, hosted at the High-Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria in Gauteng, will be the last course in the first stage of this programme.  It will be led by Premier League Coach Educator Graham Robinson who will be supported by Alex Curran and Steven Bell, community coaches from Middlesbrough FC and Newcastle United FC respectively.

The course in Tshwane is being jointly organised by the British Council, Premier League and SAFA.

Throughout the week the grassroots trainees will receive expert training from qualified Premier Skills coaches and referees, giving them the skills and support to develop their own community football projects and their development as referees.

Local Premier Skills Coach Educators who completed the Premier Skills programme in 2013 will support the UK coaches on this course. One of those coach educators, Liezl Windvogel has now changed career and works to train new coaches in communities across South Africa. She said: “I find it extremely satisfying to be able to give back to the community I work with in Johannesburg”.

Coaches and referees from the following NGOs will participate in the Tshwane leg of the programme:

  • Footballers 4 Life-Johannesburg
  • Dlala Ntombazane-Pretoria
  • Inner-city Ambassadors-Hillbrow
  • Grassroots Soccer-Alexandra Township
  • Scout South Africa-Mpumalanga
  • Leseding Community Project- North West
  • Free State Sports 4 Change-Bloemfontein

Since Premier Skills began in 2007, 17,715 coaches and referees have been trained in 29* countries, who in turn have reached 1.5 million young people.

CEO of the SAFA Development Agency, Dr Robin Petersen said:

We are delighted that our longstanding relationship with the Premier Skills programme will continue with this latest round of coach development in Tshwane.  Developing competent coaches at all levels remains a cornerstone of our Vision 2022 development plan, and these coaching workshops with the Premier Skills play a unique role in this development.

Premier League Director of International Relations, Tim Vine said:

Premier Skills has already had a huge impact around the world, and more specifically in South Africa where we have run the programme since 2013. Since the project’s inception, we have trained over 200 hugely talented and passionate community coaches and referees, who have passed on their experience to over 13 500 young people coming into the game for the first time.

“This new phase to Premier Skills in South Africa will triple the size and impact of what we are doing in the country, as we bring out Premier League club coaches to work alongside South African coach educators to deliver SAFA-accredited courses to a raft of new participants. We are looking forward to this third South African phase one course in Tshwane.

British Council Country Director, Colm McGivern said:

Joining Premier Skills is like getting a free-kick for your future.  It’s just what you want, just when you need it most, and could change the course of your life.  This training programme reaches to the heart of South African communities and creates opportunities for leaders to develop their capability using sport, and football in particular, to increase their life chances and those they meet and train.  Working alongside one of the biggest UK brands – the Premier League – the British Council is proud to offer this opportunity to a new cohort of inspirational figures in community sport.”

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