Transforming Volleyball England’s coach education system

16th June 2020

Transforming Volleyball England’s coach education system

New coaching awards for volleyball coaches based on professional standards will be introduced by 2022. Board member and long-serving coach Richard Harrison outlines what these changes are and why they are needed.


For the last 20 years or so, Volleyball England has offered coaches UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) vocational qualifications, which are based on the National Occupational Standards of sport and recreation.

This required Volleyball England to work with 1st4sport Qualifications, the Ofqual-recognised awarding body, to create new coaching awards that met the criteria for the National and European Qualifications Frameworks. Although we retained the UKCC Level 2, the UKCC Level 1 was replaced by Volleyball England’s Level 1 Introduction to Coaching Volleyball qualification in 2017.

However, coaching in the sport and activity sector, which volleyball of course operates within, has changed and there is a new organisation leading the way: The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

Professional standards

CIMSPA was awarded Chartered status in 2012.The mandate CIMSPA has been given from government and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to identify the key occupations in our sector, develop professional standards for those occupations and accredit/endorse qualifications and training providers that align to the standards. Volleyball England is aiming to be a partner training provider.

You can browse CIMSPA’s professional standards library here.

For example, there is a professional standard that outlines the role and scope of the coach as well as the essential knowledge and skills that are needed to meet the sport and activity sector’s minimum deployment standards. Achieving a CIMSPA-endorsed education product that meets the professional standard is the new industry pre-requisite to becoming a coach.

This has created a great opportunity for Volleyball England to create an industry standard coaching award structure that focuses on the sport-specifics for assistant coach, coach and forcoaches operating in school environments and for those coaching specific populations such as children as well as coaches of talented players. Accredited training partners such as UK Coaching will provide the additional online and face-to-face learning modules for coaches to develop their professional practice and enhance their coaching knowledge to meet the professional standards.


So, what are we doing?

  • We are creating an education and learning route to enable coaches to meet the sector’s minimum deployment standards to coach in the environment they work in. The UKCC Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Volleyball will be recognised as meeting minimum deployment standards for the school environment until 2022.
  • By 2022 we will have created a series of volleyball-specific ‘products’, such as technical specifications and courses, which will be endorsed by CIMSPA to help coaches obtain the coaching assistant and coach awards.
  • To achieve the former, we are producing technical specifications for volleyball, beach volleyball and sitting volleyball for courses as well as training modules to support coaches preparing for their coach assessment. Working groups of technical experts in each of the specialisms are developing the new technical frameworks of the coach education programme and the modules for coaching populations. We will be working closely with CIMSPA to ensure that these technical products meet their standards. Coaches will be assessed in the ‘real world’ environment in which they coach, and we will create a process to enable our coaches to do this.
  • We are shaping the technical content of our Level 1 Introduction to Coaching Volleyball qualification to create an assistant coach award with references to all the disciplines. This will provide a sound basis for assistant coaches to transition smoothly into their coach specialism.
  • Produce learning modules for coaching populations and for environments such as primary-age resources, followed by secondary-age resources to support coaches in this area. These will support volleyball in the school curriculum and coaches operating in schools.
  • Produce additional CIMSPA-endorsed learning modules to further develop specialist knowledge and skills for coaching populations and environments.

We are transforming our coach education system to focus on a high-quality, sector-endorsed, learning programme. Coaches will acquire the sport-specific knowledge and skills relevant for the development of volleyball players as well as for working in specific coaching environments such as schools and with talented players.

There is a lot to achieve in the next 2 years and we will keep you informed of our progress in this area.

Speaking about the new professional standards, Emma Atkins, Director of Coaching at UK Coaching summarised it well: “This is the start of a new era for coach development, qualifications and training that will give coaches clearer career pathways, a broader range of skills and help create an active nation inspired through great coaching.”

Transforming Volleyball England’s coach education system