At 15, Declan Barker attended one of our Premier League Kicks football sessions with some friends. After really enjoying himself Declan began going to the free programme every week and started to develop some good relationships with both the Nottingham Forest Community Trust coaches and other participants. “What I liked most about the sessions to begin with was how engaging the coaches were and the atmosphere created at the sessions. After attending for over a year I was invited to become a volunteer coach at the session, I really enjoyed this role and soon decided this was something that I would want to do for a living.

After becoming a volunteer, Declan thrived, supporting our coaches with their sessions and going above and beyond to help in any way he could. All of his efforts did not go unnoticed and it didn’t take long for us to come to the decision of making him our first ever full-time apprentice.

An originally shy Declan was now fully determined to prove himself as a coach and had decided that this is something which he wanted to pursue as a long-term career. The apprenticeship allowed him to develop his skills out in community and would give him the experience of coaching in a range of different environments to a variety of participants. “At the start of my apprenticeship I was very nervous about coaching in schools but with help of the lead coaches they managed to build my confidence.”

This apprenticeship kick started Declan’s future with Nottingham Forest Community Trust and with the guidance and support of other colleagues he progressed through a number of different positions with us;

– Community Coach
– Head Coach
– Inclusion Lead
– Premier League Projects Manager (present)

Now, Premier League Projects Manager Declan has his own team delivering a number of different programmes throughout the community every day including the one which he first attended. “I’d like to thank the trust for the continued efforts in me as a person, in terms of both time and training.”