Launched in January 2012, the new intensive 18-month long course aims to support the development of the next generation of highly skilled and innovative coaches working in the professional game.
The course, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, focuses solely on developing coaching expertise through extending and challenging the invite-only candidates beyond UEFA A Licence level.
Directed by former FA Elite Coaching Manager and now Cardiff City Academy Manager, Dick Bate, and FA Learning Consultant, Alistair Smith, the Elite Coaches’ Award is a Level 5 qualification of equal standing to the UEFA Pro Licence course.
As Smith explains, The FA Elite Coaches’ Award is a specialist qualification developed to support and challenge coaches to be innovative, insightful and informed in their work on the training pitch and on matchday:
“The FA Elite Coaches’ Award has aimed to create an academy in which to push and challenge a talented group of young coaches who have the potential to become great coaches.
"Over the course of the 18 months we’ve stretched all of the candidates to be innovative, creative and to break the mould with regards to coaching approaches and understanding of the game.”
Blues Academy manager Kristjaan Speakman added: "The FA courses have gone through a significant overhaul and we are delighted to have a key member of our coaching staff on this important pilot course.
"Professional development is key to developing a leading team and Gareth has worked hard to achieve this qualification whilst also feeding information back to the staff at Wast Hills Training Ground."