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#ICYMI: The Cambridges and Prince Harry attend Coach Core graduation event

On Wednesday, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended an event at Olympic Stadium to which the Duchess of Cambridge showed up unannounced. Their Royal Highnesses observed the graduation ceremony of 150 Coach Core apprentices.

This apprenticeship scheme was founded in 2012 as part of The Royal Foundation of Their Royal Highnesses. Coach Core believes sport can transform lives. It trains youths between the ages of 16-24 to become sports coaches, mentors and positive role models for those in their communities. These young people are not employed or pursuing any degree. Becoming coaches will allow them to serve as leading figures for the youth in their local areas. The programme has expanded from seven communities to 10. Middlesbrough, Bristol and Devon are the newest communities to be added to the programme.

Around 98% of those who graduate from Coach Core will go forward to have full-time jobs, into education and be active in coaching sport in their communities.

After arriving at the event, Their Royal Highnesses met with key supporters who have been instrumental in facilitating the programme. Before the ceremony, the royals then joined the graduates in the indoor track where everyone received a coaching masterclass from Judy Murray and gymnastics star Max Whitlock. Prince Harry participated in a rugby masterclass.

According to Kensington Palace’s tweet: “Coach Core is making high quality coaching accessible and affordable to all, creating future coaches for local clubs, companies and communities.” The Duchess heard from current apprentices about how coach core has affected and changed their lives.

At the ceremony, Prince Harry gave a speech where he praised the graduates. You can read it below:

“Thank yo, Ed and good afternoon everyone.

“I would like to start by thanking Karren and West Ham for letting us all be here today.

“It’s so appropriate that we are back here – five years after it all began, during the incredible summer of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“At the time, William, Catherine and I were looking at the issues that we wanted to tackle together with our newly formed Royal Foundation. It was clear that all three of us believed firmly that sport could be such a powerful force for good.

“We felt confident that for many young people, at risk of falling through the cracks, as they left school, sport could be the answer to keeping them on track or change the course their lives were already headed.

“We knew that with the enthusiasm sweeping the country during that summer, we had a window of opportunity to bring the right people and organisations to the table to make something really exciting happen.

“The idea for Coach Core was born.

“Working with leading organisations in the sector and partners across a number of cities, we set out to put groups of young people through an intensive year-long course in high quality sport coaching, life skills and mentoring.

“Our aim has been to create the next generation of exceptional sport coaches who are giving back to the kids in their own communities – who in turn will become leaders, mentors and role models themselves.

“And so far the results have been incredible:

“250 apprentices have taken part in more than 30,000 coaching sessions; meaning that this programme is responsible for over 350,000 individual sessions of sport coaching and life skills. 93% of people who started in Coach Core are either still part of the programme or have graduated successfully. 80% of our graduates are coaching young people six months after graduation. And most significantly, 98% of Coach Core graduates are in employment or training.

“Coach Core currently operates in 7 cities across the country. But such is the demand for these highly skilled coaches that I am delighted to announce that The Royal Foundation will be expanding our investment in the programme. Today we are launching three new Coach Core programmes in: Middlesbrough, Devon, and Bristol.

“We believe that our graduates here today really are the future of coaching. They have each been on a unique journey, designed to build on their existing skills to equip them with the tools to be effective role models and mentors in their communities.

“I invite all of you to learn more about the programme and to help us take Coach Core to the next level — giving even more young people the opportunity to unlock their talent through sports coaching.

“We know that our unique model of building a programme through local partnerships to deliver coaches back into the community works – the figures speak for themselves!

“I’d like to close by saying a huge congratulations to the graduates on your achievement.

“You have dedicated yourself, alongside your fellow apprentices, investing blood, sweat and tears to become not just a great coach, but a great employee, mentor and leader in your community.

“I have no doubt that for those graduating, this will have been tough at times. Many of you have told us your stories – many of you faced hardships along the way, and some of you were even told you would not succeed.

“But in completing this course you have shown just how dedicated and capable you are.

“You should all be incredibly proud of what you have accomplished. Even more importantly, you should be excited about the futures you are now embarking on.

“William, Catherine and I, and everyone involved in the Coach Core Programme are incredibly proud of you.”

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