Today officially marks the start of UK Sport’s new female coaches leadership programme with 27 coaches from 15 sports, including fencing coach Katie Arup, coming together as part of a plan to more than double representation in the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community by Paris 2024.
Eight coaches, including the addition of highly-respected duo Jane Figueiredo (diving) and Claire Morrison (boccia), will lead a six-month programme for 19 of the most promising coaches in the UK, all of whom have been identified as having the potential to coach at the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games from Paris 2024 and beyond.
Figueiredo and Morrison join Paula Dunn (para athletics), Kate Howey (judo), Mel Marshall (swimming), Bex Milnes (para triathlon) and Tracy Whittaker-Smith (trampolining) as coach leaders while Karen Brown, who spent over 15 years as a coach for Great Britain Hockey and England Hockey, will act as a mentor throughout.
The 19 participating coaches will be offered key support and development opportunities, including times to observe an assigned coach leader in their environment. The programme will focus on three key areas, leadership, environment and transition, all of which are fundamental to the coaching development journey. The 19 coaches and their pairings are:
Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said, “It is really exciting to see such a large number of coaches from right across our high-performance community involved in this programme. We have an amazing group of coach leaders, who are the trailblazers and the people doing it now, and the opportunity for the 19 promising coaches to learn from them – as well as each other – is going to be incredible.
“UK Sport is determined to see greater diversity across the high-performance community and I know the role that I can play in championing this programme. I believe that each of the participants will become role models for the next generation of coaches and will truly enable us to reach our aims and ambitions for female coaches.
“I want to be able to reflect back that this was a turning point of truly making our workforce, in particular our coaching workforce, in the high-performance community far more diverse and a lot more equal from a gender perspective.”
Katie Arup said, “I am delighted to have been selected onto UK Sport’s female coaches leadership programme. The programme will give me the opportunity to work with and shadow an inspirational group of female coaches from a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports. I am looking forward to the challenges the programme will throw up for me as a female fencing coach. I feel ready to up my game, push myself forward on my career path as a fencing coach and embrace becoming a better high-performance coach that can bring excellence to our future GB athletes.”
BF’s CEO Georgina Usher said, “We’re delighted that Katie is joining this cohort of female coaches as we look ahead to Paris 2024 and beyond. We are determined to open doors for more women and girls to get involved at all levels of our sport and would like to thank UK Sport for providing this inspiring opportunity in support of this objective.”
At present, approximately only 10% of coaching positions within the high-performance community in the UK are held by women. The leadership programme forms part of UK Sport’s long-term plan to address the current under-representation of female coaches at all levels of the talent pathway within the high-performance community.
The first target of this long-term plan is to ensure that by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, the number of female coaches available to Team GB and ParalympicsGB has more than doubled to 25%.
UK Sport collaborated with Performance Directors, Coach Developers and Talent Pathway Managers within the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community, as well as UK Coaching, on nominating female coaches to be part of the programme.
It arises from UK Sport’s People Development Team, working in partnership with sports and stakeholders to address diversity and inclusion ambitions, removing barriers and introducing bespoke programmes with gender the first characteristic and other initiatives to follow.
Sign up to receive regular highlights from the exciting world of fencing - celebrating the best of our unique and inspiring community