Oliver first engaged with the Premier League Kick programme four years ago, aged 15...
One of Southend United Community & Educational Trust's coaches recalls this stating “The very first time that I spoke to Oliver it was clear that he was lacking in confidence and enthusiasm, but now he's a new person.”
Since taking part in the PL events Oliver is now an apprentice coach within the Trust and is certainly one of the most competent apprentices within the team.
Whilst in year 11, Oliver regularly attended the sessions at PlayFootball Southend, participating 32 times between September 2015 and July 2016, including once representing Southend United at a Kicks tournament.
Oliver recalls that he thoroughly enjoyed these sessions and spoke regularly with the coaches present, leading to him learning about the college course which SUCET deliver. Having always had a keen interest in playing football, Oliver took the opportunity to join the college scholarship programme and represented them in football leagues before graduating from the college scheme.
Whilst attending the college, Oliver was invited to volunteer at the PlayFootball Kicks session by one of his college tutors which he went on to do for several months during 2017. Oliver remembers enjoying his time volunteering, in his own words
“Spending time volunteering at the Premier League Kicks sessions definitely encouraged me to pursue a job within the Trust because I really enjoyed my time there, so the option to get paid to do it was something that I was really interested in doing."
Since his time at the Kicks sessions and the level of professionalism he had displayed when helping out at PlayFootball, Oliver has been employed as an apprentice coach with SUCET and now leads the PL Kicks sessions at Playfootball, which proves to be one of the most popular football sessions the Trust delivers.
Having Oliver as part of the SUCET coaching team has helped develop the sessions, the recruiting side of the programme and the main part which is retaining the members for another year and Oliver's commitment to the Trust has helped him grow as a person.
One of the former coaches that taught Oliver when he was younger agrees had this to say about his progression.
“Over the past few years Oliver has grown as a person massively, the difference in his confidence from then to now is massive and a great achievement for him.
"Oliver has clearly proven how much he has developed over the years and he has admitted that it is due to his current role, knowing that he can now lead those sessions that he looked forward to every week."
Since joining the Trust Oliver has completed his FA Level 1 Coaching Qualification as well as other coaching qualifications and CPD events.
He is extremely happy in his work and believes that he would not be where he is today had he not have attended PL Kicks as a 15-year-old.
A former PL Kicks Co-ordinator said “Oliver has been a pleasure to work with over the past years.
"He has progressed and developed his skills and is now an apprentice member of staff at the trust. He now has the opportunity to give back to the Kicks programme and showcase his skills further than ever before.”