Scottish coaches progress with valuable qualification

The next generation of Scottish coaches have achieved the UK Coaching Certificate Level 3 qualification, as part of Scottish Rugby’s drive to develop lead club and schools coaches.

In the past 12 months 26 graduates have completed the course, and therefore taken valuable steps forward in their coaching pathway, increasing the number of highly qualified Scottish coaches in the process. 

Mike Blair achieved his UKCC3 this seasonFormer Scotland internationalists Chris Paterson, Mike Blair, Phil Godman, Nikki Walker and Ben Cairns were among the graduates to complete the course.

Also in the group was Scotland 7s head coach, Calum MacRae, Glasgow Warriors props Mike Cusack and Jon Welsh and former Scotland 7s and Scotland A centre, John Houston. 

Blair, who won 85 caps for Scotland and, who has recently returned north to play for Glasgow Warriors, said: “The main benefit that I got out of the course was from the feedback in my sessions.

“Rob Brierly, Scottish Rugby’s exile coach, came and watched me deliver sessions at Ponteland Rugby Club in Newcastle. He would make me reflect on what I was doing, in order to improve myself and to think about how I would do things better in the future.

I now feel I can push on and pursue my coaching ambitions, over the summer and in Glasgow.” 

The UKCC Level 3 course acts as a progression for experienced adult and youth coaches who have undertaken their UKCC Level 2 qualification. Scottish Rugby’s coach development department delivers these qualifications, supplemented by a programme of workshops and conferences. 

It is aimed at head and lead coaches within adult and youth rugby, and those who are responsible for leading and managing rugby programmes at clubs and schools.

Consisting of three modules, the course is a mixture of practical and classroom based activities. Participants are assessed on their competence, throughout the year. 

83% of Scottish Rugby’s high performance coaches – which include all age-grade, BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and professional coaches – are now qualified to this level.

Also, nine of the ten 1st XV BT Premiership head coaches hold their UKCC Level 3 coaching qualification.

Scottish Rugby’s coaching development manager, Neil Graham, said: “The calibre of coaches completing this season’s course has been exceptional, with 12 current or former professional players taking the step toward a career in coaching.

“We’ve also had coaches, such as Duncan Campbell from Montrose and District, who are coaching at the lower end of the player pathway, but are still ambitious and striving to be the best coaches they can be. 

Developing suitably qualified and experienced coaches, at all levels of the game, is vital to increase participation and develop performances.

“Having quality coaches within our clubs, schools, universities and now the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy will go a long way to ensuring players experience a positive, safe and athlete focused environment to develop their technical and tactical skills and understanding. 

“Many of the graduates from this seasons UKCC Level 3 course have a clear plan of how they’d like to progress over the coming years.

“For some, the progression into the professional game is achievable, but like all coaches it will take hard work and a commitment to get there. A large percentage of this year’s coaches are continuing to coach in the domestic game, and I wish them all the best for the season ahead.”

Another 24 coaches will undertake the course in season 2015/16, including Scotland 7s internationalists Scott Wight and Scott Riddell and former Scotland props Gavin Kerr and George Graham. 

Full list of 2014/15 UKCC Level 3 graduates

  • Peter Wood (Boroughmuir)
  • Ben Cairns (Currie)
  • Robert Chrystie (Melrose)
  • Chris Paterson (Scottish Rugby Specialist Skills Coach)
  • Nikki Walker (Hawick)
  • John Houston (Royal High School)
  • Sinclair Patience (Highland)
  • David Griffiths (Loretto School)
  • Phil Godman (Morpeth)
  • Rhodri Thomas (North Berwick)
  • Grant Fraser (Peebles)
  • Mike Blair (Ponteland)
  • Andrew Douglas (West of Scotland)
  • Scott Forrest (Ayr)
  • Glen Tippett (Ayr)
  • Jon Welsh (GHA)
  • Graham Knox (Greenock Wanderers)
  • Michael Cusack (West of Scotland)
  • Chris Reid (Hillhead Jordanhill)
  • Duncan Campbell (Montrose and District)
  • Ross Finlay (Ellon)
  • Kris Burney (Falkirk)
  • Peter Jericevich (GHA)
  • Craig Sorbie (GHA)
  • Kevin Tkachuk (Wellington College)
  • Calum MacRae (Scotland 7s)