February 05, 2024

National Apprenticeship Week: Finlay’s Journey as a Lionheart Apprentice

During the 2022-23 academic year, 13 Lionheart employees – including seasoned teachers and associate staff – undertook a variety of apprenticeship schemes that allowed them to expand their existing skillset whilst, simultaneously gaining valuable practical experience.

Among these was Finlay Moore, who is currently working towards a Level 4 apprenticeship in Sports Coaching at the ‘Outstanding’ Brocks Hill Primary School in Oadby. 

Holding a strong interest in sport from a young age, Finlay’s association with Lionheart began nearly a decade ago, when he started at Judgemeadow Community College in Evington before going on to study A-Levels in PE, Economics and Geography.

A keen cricketer, Finlay went on to work for Leicestershire County Cricket Club, where, as part of the Chance to Shine programme, he helped deliver coaching sessions at four Trust primary schools – Hallam Fields, Riverside, Highcliffe and Brocks Hill – and Judgemeadow.

Despite the sense of pride and fulfilment associated within his role, something was missing.

“I was enjoying my coaching in a school environment, however, I found it hard to build relationships with the children as I was constantly moving from place to place,” Finlay explained.

“I would say before applying for my position at Brocks Hill, I had never really considered going down the apprenticeship route,” he continued.

“But when I saw the advert come up (in 2022), I knew I had to apply as I loved the atmosphere around the school and was inspired by the great work Heena Patel was doing as PE and Wellbeing Lead.”

As a Sports Coach Apprentice, Finlay is responsible for delivering PE lessons, from EYFS through to Year 6, and running multiple afterschool clubs – including football, dodgeball and multi-sports – all of which are extremely popular.

During 2022-23, Finlay also supported 141 different Brocks Hill pupils as they competed in 42 regional sporting events. Amongst multiple successes, the school won the Danone Football Cup, the Sportshall Athletics tournament and the Year 6 South Leicestershire Schools basketball competition. They were also awarded the Platinum School Games Mark for the second successive year; recognition for the excellent work Finlay – and the rest of the Brocks Hill staff – have undertaken in promoting a passion for PE throughout the school.

Alongside supporting the pupils with PE lessons and extra-curricular activities, Finlay’s role as a Sports Coach Apprentice also requires him to work with staff members. His input strengthens their knowledge and allows them to improve their overall skillset, ensuring that all the children at Brocks Hill – and across the Trust – can enjoy a sustained, high-quality PE curriculum.

This has also been reciprocated with Finlay praising the support Brocks Hill and Lionheart have given him throughout his apprenticeship, allowing him to grow and become more confident in his role. Their input has improved his behaviour management skills and his ability to support vulnerable children.

“Brocks Hill and Lionheart have supported me through observations and mentoring to ensure I can do the best possible job,” he explained.

“I have also been able to undertake lots of training courses and CPD opportunities - from sensory circuits to NFL flag football – and shadow so many brilliant members of staff which helps me to understand and upskill myself in the wider school environment outside of just PE and school sport.”

He added: “Sally Wicken (Executive Principal) and Cathryn Shilling (Head of School) has also been very supportive and proactive in ensuring that I am up to date with my course; she has always been open to new ideas from all staff.”

Finlay’s fantastic work during the last academic year did not go unnoticed. He was shortlisted for South Leicestershire Sports Coach of the Year and a Heart Award, Lionheart’s internal awards scheme which is designed to celebrate the achievements of outstanding staff members.

“To be shortlisted for South Leicestershire Coach of the Year was a great achievement for me,” he explains, “it was great to be recognised within the area for making an impact on school sport.

“I was surprised when my name was read out on the Pupil-centred Heart Award shortlist after hearing some of the amazing things others had achieved in the Trust over the year.

“But it is an amazing feeling to know the work I did was appreciated by the Trust and the staff at Brocks Hill.”

With his apprenticeship scheduled to conclude this month, Finlay is already looking forward to using the experiences and skills he has acquired in a comparable role very soon.

“After my apprenticeship I would still like to continue to work in a school environment,” he says.

“During my time as a School Sport Apprentice I have enjoyed delivering sensory circuits to SEN learners and also working with Pupil Premium children across the school, so I plan to look for a role where I can continue to work with these learners.”

With his apprenticeship journey nearing its end, what advice would Finlay give to those pondering whether an apprenticeship is the right route for them?

“An apprenticeship is a great way to gain on the job experience whilst also gaining a qualification and getting paid at the same time!”

If you’re interested in pursuing an apprenticeship scheme with Lionheart, make sure you keep an eye on our ETeach portal for any new positions that become available.

Click here