Tuesday 03 December 2013

Premier League and British Council’s Premier Skills ground-breaking coach development initiative continues to grow across China

The hugely successful Premier Skills initiative, run by the Premier League and the British Council (operating in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy / British Consulates-General) returned to Beijing with a showcase festival on 2 December 2013 to celebrate its five year anniversary in China.

The showcase festival heralded the announcement of partnerships between the Premier League and British Council with the Ministry of Education PRC on community and school coach training, and with the Chinese Football Association on young referee training.

From 2014 to 2016, Premier Skills will be delivered through the institution network that is to be developed under the Ministry of Education’s initiative - “National University Alliance of Football Education in Community”. Premier Skills will be incorporated into the Chinese government’s curriculum to help develop a core group of highly skilled teachers and coaches in China empowered and confident to deliver community and school football programmes, which will in turn influence up to 1,200,000 young students in China in the next 3 years.  In addition, partnership with Chinese Football Association will look to train over 200 young referees from 2014 to 2016. These coaches and referees, trained by UK experts, will help the long term, healthy development of football in China.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities said:

"The strength of the Premier League isn’t just measured in fans around the world watching the games, but the impact it has on people’s lives. It is wonderful that the British Council and Premier League’s Premier Skills programme takes the best of UK expertise in using football as a force for good and uses it to create opportunities for young people all over the world, not least in China.

"I am extremely pleased to see that the positive impact that Premier Skills in China has had on young people and in their local communities will now be extended to many more through this new partnership.”

The showcase festival was attended by 15 Premier Skills Chinese grassroot coaches and over 150 local school students, who were excitedly joined by Graeme Le Saux, former footballer.

The 15 grassroot coaches, selected from over 600 Premier Skills previous training participants in China, had just completed a refresher training during the previous two days before the showcase. Led by head coach Jonathan Garside, Community Coach from Everton FC, the grassroot coaches shared practical experience with each other on developing community-focused football projects and refreshed their understanding on cascading the their newly acquired skills to others, truly leading to sustainable benefits for the growth of the game in China and raising awareness of the health and education benefits of sport. The showcase festival provided a stage for these coaches to demonstrate their improved skills to a wide range of audience.

Since 2009 when it launched in China, Premier Skills has created training opportunities benefitting more than 600 physical education teachers from over 500 schools and community football clubs located in nine cities. The Premier Skills coaches in turn have reached more than 200,000 young people.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said:

The impact that Premier Skills has had so far in China over these past five years is testament to how important we see our role in helping football develop in the country. This exciting new chapter for the programme will see a huge increase in the numbers of teachers and coaches who will receive training from Premier League coach educators, with an estimated 1.2 million young students then benefitting from quality football coaching over these next three years.

“Through this long-term commitment, we hope that Premier Skills will play a valuable part in growing football’s grassroots in China.”

Premier Skills combines the reach of the British Council with the global appeal of the Premier League to use football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world.

Premier Skills has already delivered tremendous impact in 21 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas. Since 2007 Premier Skills has created training opportunities benefitting over 2,300 grassroots coaches and referees who in turn have reached more than 400,000 young people.

British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson said:

Premier Skills is a fantastic way to use  the power of sport to connect young people with the UK. We are proud of our partnership with the Premier League on this programme.

"Adapting Premier Skills to each country it operates in and working with the right partners is key to its success and nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly than in China. I look forward to working closely with the Premier League, Ministry of Education PRC and the Chinese Football Association to take Premier Skills into a new and exciting phase in China”. 

Notes to Editor

Premier Skills is a partnership between the Premier League and the British Council which uses football as a tool to engage with and develop the skills of young people.

Since the first pilot in 2007, the project has been delivered across 21 countries: Afghanistan, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia (including Libyan participants), Uganda and Vietnam.

In 2010 an enhanced coaching offer and new referee coaching element was added to the programme, as well as a new community project element based on the Premier League’s highly successful UK Kicks programme, linking UK community projects run by Premier League clubs to similar projects in other countries, building long-term partnerships that aim to change the lives of thousands of people.

By summer 2013 Premier Skills has reached more than 400,000 young people through the coaches, and to provide access to the English language materials for millions of teachers and learners of English worldwide.


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m.  The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies.  All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world.

Our first office in China opened in 1943 and we work in five cities in China. In Beijing we operate as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy. In Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing we operate as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Consulates-General respectively. In Hong Kong we are known as the British Council.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org.cn. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil