Sports Apprenticeships

If burpees, the bleep test and running laps around the playground were your thing in secondary school, a career in sports might be right up your pitch.

Sports Apprenticeships

Sports apprenticeships are rewarding and aren’t about hitting the gym or even being a professional sportsperson. In fact, many sports apprenticeships are about making a real difference in people’s lives and heavily fall under fitness and health, with many of them incorporating science.

There are also some less ‘traditional’ sports apprenticeships which could see you working in Formula 1 or even taking care of football pitches across the country.

Read on to get the full lowdown on sports apprenticeships and how you can get involved.

Can you get an apprenticeship in sports?

Yes, you absolutely can do an apprenticeship in sports. Sports apprenticeships are work experience schemes that combine physical training alongside gaining a professional qualification.

Employers love experience, and apprenticeship will give you just that - and more. It’s a fantastic way to get a career in sports, as you’ll be given the skills and experience required to work across all sections of the sports world.

While some sports sections require a university degree (like sports science, psychology and journalism), there are plenty of roles that don’t. Some of these are,

  • Fitness instructor

  • Swimming coach

  • Sports development officer.

Don’t worry. There are loads more where that comes from. Read on for a full breakdown of the types of sports apprenticeships below.

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Read about apprenticeship programmes

What apprenticeships are there in sports?

There are hundreds of sports, meaning plenty of opportunities for you to thrive in a sports career. You’re spoilt for choice.

You can do a sports apprenticeship at all levels. Here are some examples.

Level 2 (intermediate) sports apprenticeships

  • Leisure centre assistant

  • Fitness/gym instructor

  • Community sports coach.

Level 3 (advanced) sports apprenticeships

  • Race team apprentice

  • Sports development officer

  • Teaching assistant apprentice with PE focus.

Level 4/5 (higher) sports apprenticeships

  • School/college sports coach

  • Sports massage therapist

  • Sports specialist coach.

Level 6/7 (degree) apprenticeships

  • Physiotherapist

  • Primary school PE specialist

  • Sports manager.

The great thing about an apprenticeship in sports is that many of them allow you to work across various sports. So you could be playing football on a Monday, ending your work week with basketball on a Friday. Find a few examples of roles below…

Sports Coach

You’ll train to become the next Alex Ferguson. Being a coach means you are responsible for developing teams, individuals and regular folk to be the best.

You'll specialise in one or more sports disciplines as a sports coach. There are loads to choose from too, so if you’re a multidisciplinary sportsperson - this could be the way to go. Some disciplines include…

  • Community sports

  • Swimming

  • Football

  • Diving

  • Tennis.

Sport 4 Kidz offer a sports coaching apprenticeship for 16-year-olds where you'll learn key skills in teaching children from toddler age and upwards in schools, nurseries and camps.

Community health and sports officer

Community is at the heart of this role. You’ll work within communities to help get them more active. These roles work hand-in-hand with government schemes, community organisations, the voluntary sector and sports for development agencies.

It’s a rewarding role where you’ll make a real difference in people’s lives.

Personal trainer

A personal trainer helps people with their fitness goals on a 1-2-1 basis. You’ll have a bunch of clients, all with various needs, so you’ll need to be a pro at creating tailored nutritional plans and fitness regimes.

The great thing about being a personal trainer is that you can work from anywhere, including…

  • From home or at clients’ houses

  • In a gym or fitness centre

  • Freelance

  • GP or hospitals (you’ll need to do medical fitness training).

Leisure team member

The leisure industry employs well over 300,000 people in the UK, and you can be one of them.

As a leisure team member, you’ll work in a leisure or fitness centre in a customer-facing role, so you’ll need to flex your customer service muscles. You’ll also be expected to help with general maintenance and wear many hats. Roles can include…

  • A lifeguard

  • Swimming teacher

  • Gym instructor

  • Group activity leader.

It’s a busy role, and there’ll always be something to do. On a typical day, you could do all of the above roles.

Sports physiotherapist

Rehabilitation is a massive part of sports, and as a sports physiotherapist, you’ll specialise in diagnosing and helping sportspeople heal from injuries.

You’ll work in a variety of environments, including…

  • A therapy clinic

  • A hospital or GP

  • A school

  • Sports Centre.

sports apprenticeships

Hear all about Ignite Sport and all the apprenticeships they offer school leavers.

Do football clubs offer apprenticeships?

If you’re looking to bend it like Beckham or become the next Messi, your best bet is a Football Youth Academy. Aimed between 8 and 24-year-olds, youth academies aim to help talented young footballers become professionals.

However, you can’t just join a youth academy. You’ll need to be scouted and invited to a trial before being accepted to join.

Off-pitch; there are opportunities for those who’d rather keep their football boots mud-free. You could see yourself becoming an apprentice in any of the following...

Apprentice Groundskeeper

Okay, so mud might be involved here. For those of you with a green thumb, a groundskeeper is responsible for keeping the grounds or gardens prim and proper. This role isn’t just reserved for football grounds - you’ll work on various sports pitches around your area and beyond.

Ticket Office Customer Service Apprentice

You’ll be the face of the company and interact directly with customers working at the ticket offices, on the phone and by email to help with queries and orders. You’d also get involved with other parts of the business, like stewarding events, handling deliveries and hosting away teams.

The great news is that you’ll be taught transferable skills that you can use in similar jobs in other sectors, not necessarily in football or sports.

The EFL Trust runs free traineeships for 19 to 24-year-olds where they’ll get work experience in various departments of the football world. This can include…

  • Business administration

  • Coaching

  • Hospitality

  • Grounds maintenance

  • Matchday

  • Retail.

Do F1 teams offer apprenticeships?

Did you know you could rub shoulders with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen? Yup, you can do an apprenticeship with F1.

F1 apprenticeships are fast-paced, varied and allow you to work in some pretty damn cool countries like Australia, Morocco and Japan.

Also known as motorsport, there are ten companies that you can apply to if fast cars are your passion. These are…

  • Red Bull Racing

  • Ferrari

  • Mercedes 

  • McLaren

  • Alpine

  • Alfa Romeo

  • Aston Martin

  • Haas F1 Team

  • AlphaTauri

  • Williams.

If you’ve been itching to turn that hobby of collecting Hot Wheels into a career, a vast range of roles are available. We break some of them down below.

Engineering Operative Apprentice

Engineering operatives are responsible for the making, upkeep and maintenance of motorsport vehicles. Tasks can include:

  • Use, repair, and maintain machines and tools

  • Operate machine tools like lathes, cutters, grinders and borers

  • Building your knowledge of manufacturing production and processes.

Race Team Apprentice

You’ll spend time getting to understand the inner workings of race cars. Tasks can include:

  • Building cars using engineering drawings

  • Learning the processes and procedures used at every stage during the assembly of the cars

  • Training in pit stops and other trackside processes.

Build and Test Apprentice

That is exactly what it says on the exhaust pipe. Apprentices will learn the ins and outs of race car building and test them out. Tasks can include;

  • Assemble, service and repair a range of mechanical car components

  • Learn mechanical and electrical practices used in industrial laboratories

  • Ensure workshops, laboratories, and equipment are clean, organised and in safe working condition.

Meet Abbie McMurray, a Race Team Apprentice with the Mercedes F1 team…

How much can I earn on a sports apprenticeship?

The minimum wage for an apprenticeship is £5.28 an hour. However, many employers pay a lot more than that. In fact, an apprentice can earn as much as £23,000 per year, depending on the level you do.

For example:

A level 4 (higher) apprenticeship in sports coaching could see you earn between £14,950 and £18,200 per year. While a level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship as a sports coach starts at around £12,000 per year.

However, when you fully qualify in your chosen field, there’s potential to earn tons more. For example, you could earn well over £38,000 per year as a fully qualified physiotherapist. That’s your Disney+ subscription sorted for life.

What qualifications do I need for a sports apprenticeship?

Again, it all depends on the level of the apprenticeship, so research is key here.

For most level 2 apprenticeships, you’ll need to be at least 16 years old and have a proven passion for the apprenticeship you’re applying for.

If you’ve ever been part of any sporty extra-curricular activities, add them to your CV! You may not realise it, but they come with a ton of experience and skills that would look great on an application.

Here are some examples...

  • Being in a school sports team (extra points if you’ve been a captain)

  • Coaching younger kids on the weekends

  • Joining a summer sports club

  • Any achievements, especially sports awards 

There are plenty of roles that don’t require you to have any formal qualifications. Some employers might ask for two or more GCSEs graded at 9 to 4 (A* to C). If you don’t have these, you’ll get the opportunity to take a Maths and English qualification during your apprenticeship.

However, some apprenticeships will require you to have some qualifications. 

For example, if you want to become a physiotherapist, you’ll need to have at least three A-Levels graded at B, including Biology or Physical Education.

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