1 Ashfield Road, Chorley, Lancashire PR7 1LH 
As part of being a student at Salford Red Devils Academy, learners are encouraged to participate and get involved in local sports events hosted by Salford Red Devils Foundation. These events promote community well-being, as well as giving learners the chance to put into practice all that they have learnt in the classroom. 
Recently the foundation hosted a Tag Rugby event for local Salford Primary School children- both Boys and Girls, within Years 5 & 6. The event was targeted at this age group as a way of engaging children in Sport and providing a taster of Rugby as a positive outlet, The Primary Schools competing against each other in Tag Rugby matches to crown an overall winning School.  
Our Academy learners assisted with coaching, refereeing and score keeping and we caught up with a couple of them (when they had a spare moment!) to find out their thoughts on the afternoon.  
Pictured Main: Former learner and Coach Core & Salford Red Devils Apprentice Sam Bardsley in action refereeing  
Academy players, were kept busy throughout the afternoon refereeing games, coaching and providing friendly tips and pointers as to how the young players could improve their performances and develop their skills.  
Anyone would be slightly apprehensive standing in front of a large group of children and coaching them for the first time, and that is where events such as this come in very handy. It provides our learners with the opportunity to hone their skills in this area and gain confidence in coaching- and in their own abilities as coaches, all in a relaxed and informal environment. Offering a taster of coaching, our Academy players are provided with hands-on experience, and from that they can judge if coaching is something they would like to pursue, and get more involved in within Sports as they progress through their career once there time at the Academy is finished.  
These experiences also develop transferable skills in communication, presenting, organizational skills, and time management; after-all if a young person can stand and clearly communicate to a group of Primary School children and organize a game and maintain control then couldn't this be similar to presenting within a job? Or organising an event and managing their own time? These are all vital life-skills to develop our learners capabilities and prepare them for their future beyond the Academy.  
First year student Will Timmins was one of the learners to assist at the event, and he admitted that prior to joining the Academy he found working around children a bit daunting as he was not used to communicating with groups of children, and in his words "communication is such a big part of Rugby". 
However, on speaking to him at the event he told us that he has found the experience very helpful to offer him that practical experience in communicating with large groups of children, as well as putting into practice the principles of coaching he has learnt in the classroom so far. Overall Will found the event enjoyable, in particular mentoring and watching the children enjoy playing Rugby. 
Will, as a first year at the Academy also had this to say on his experiences there so far "I'm really liking it, there is not one bad thing about it- and that is the same for everyone!" he currently holds ambitions to become a physiotherapist once he has completed his time on programme.  
Former learner Sam Bardsley was also in attendance helping out, Sam is currently undertaking an Apprenticeship with Salford Red Devils Foundation and Coach Core, as well as continuing to train with the first team at Salford Red Devils. 
Similar to Will, Sam assisted on the day coaching and refereeing the groups. Sam is experienced through his time at the Academy, and now as a part of his current Apprenticeship, which involves regularly coaching. Sam's love of coaching began during his time at the Academy, and it was helping out at events such as this that inspired him to pursue a career in coaching. He admitted that although the first few times were nerve-wracking and challenging, once he got through that he gained a passion for it- as well as a new-found level of respect for his coaches!  
"It doesn't even feel like a day-to-day job, it feels more like a hobby! It's great being around Rugby full-time; both training and playing Rugby myself and training and coaching others to play. I couldn't think of a better job!" 
- Sam Bardsley on his Apprenticeship with Salford Red Devils Foundation and Coach Core. 
The event was a great success, and it is great to see the Academy provide learners with opportunities such as these to build their both academic and personal development, and it is highly advantageous for learners to take full advantage of this and maximise every aspect of Academy life.  
If you would like further information about being part of the Academy from September 2019 then please see our Academy page for Salford Red Devils Academy  
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