Premier Skills

I live in a community that is stricken with poverty and drugs. We are reaching out to kids to say there is an alternative. Once a week, come to my sessions.

Nomonde Mashabane, Community Coach, Soweto


Life cycle

2007 to present


Sub-Saharan Africa


British Council, Premier League


To provide young people with opportunities through football to become better integrated into their local communities and to develop their skills for employability and raise their self-esteem.


Social isolation and absenteeism from school are just some of the challenges facing young people, particularly if they have a provider or carer role. Girls and young women may also have to deal with discrimination and can be vulnerable to violence and abuse. Working with the Premier League, and using our global reach, delivery capability and ELT expertise, we provide opportunities for marginalised or at-risk young people to learn new skills, gain confidence and become better integrated within their communities through football.


In countries of delivery, Premier Skills works with local partners to set up and support social action projects that address specific needs at a community level. To aid this, male and female community coaches and educators are fully trained, strengthening their involvement in decision-making within communities. In addition, Premier League club trainers deliver a face-to-face three-phase development programme for local community-level coaches and referees that provides them with skills and support to develop their own inclusive community football projects. Premier Skills has been designed to continually adapt with local partners to meet their needs and to tackle specific issues relevant to that country and community.


Premier Skills is an adaptable and flexible programme that can be shaped to meet the local priorities of the country. Since 2007 in Sub-Saharan Africa, Premier Skills has created training opportunities benefitting 7,871 grassroots coaches and referees. Of the qualified Premier Skills Coach Educators, 35 per cent are female. 

Since 2016, 290,079 young people have now participated in community football activities delivered by Premier Skills coaches and referees, of which 41 per cent are female. A total of 92 per cent of participating young people have also reported increased self-esteem.

Our in-country partners are seeing the sustainable value being created , with 98 per cent of decision-makers from local partners reported an increased understanding of how to use football for future community development. It has also influenced further programming in India, whereby Sports Authority India has proposed the integration of Premier Skills into its national coaches’ training. 

Mutual benefit

As one of the UK’s most vibrant global brands and standout institutions of British soft power, partnering with the Premier League on the Premier Skills programme directly generates influence and attraction. The Premier League’s global appeal, its ability to engage people en-masse regardless of their background provides an ideal vehicle for cultural relations when coupled with our own international development experience.

Premier Skills also leverages wider benefits for the UK as it demonstrates an innovative approach to coach education and community development to decision-makers overseas. For example, as a direct result of the programme, the British Council in China has been delivering a wider football reform agenda, creating opportunities for UK institutions in the higher education and football sectors. They estimate that the programme, which builds directly out of the success of Premier Skills, could represent a commercial value to the UK football industry of over £500 million over five years.