England Athletics, working in collaboration with British Athletics, has launched the application process for its 2020-22 Youth Talent Programme.
The Youth Talent Programme (YTP) is the first step on the Talent pathway designed to meet the needs of identified talented English athletes, aged between 16 and 18 years of age, and their coaches. The programme focuses on developing a dual career for the athlete through fulfilling their potential within the sport and also in their education and employability.
The programme aims to complement club provision and add value to the athlete and coach plan to help develop a broad range of skills, abilities and behaviours needed for senior success. This is delivered through practical training sessions with likeminded athletes in their event group, performance support sessions and workshops. There is also the opportunity for coaches to access additional qualifications, mentoring and support delivered through the England Athletics Talent Event Leads.
Athletes who have been supported by the programme on previous intakes include Commonwealth Games and European indoor combined events medallist Niamh Emerson, Olympic bronze and World silver medal winning sprinter Daryll Neita, World U20 200m gold medallist Jona Efoloko and IPC European Championships T54 400WC bronze medallist Dillon Labrooy.
Athletes, coaches, parents and club personnel can click here to access the full information on the 2020-22 programme – including links to the Youth Talent Programme 2020-22 booklet, Selection Policy document, online application form, and a recording of a recent webinar.
The selection process is split across four stages: Stage 1 – Athlete/Coach application; Stage 2 – Youth Talent Profiling Day or Application Profile Review; Stage 3 – Selection Panel; Stage 4 – Induction.
Athletes accepted onto the programme are supported by programme sessions held at regional hubs. For those athletes in full-time education the YTP will allow the athlete to gain an academic support qualification (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) allowing progression either to further / higher education or to gain employment within a related field. Those athletes not in full-time education will be able to access the YTP content and use skills gained from their training to support their personal development and progression without the qualification.
Athletes who are not successful through the initial selection process will be offered the opportunity to attend the England Athletics regional programme and there are multiple pathway entry points for athletes to join programmes at a later date.
Speaking about the programme, Martin Rush, Head of Coaching & Athlete Development at England Athletics, said: “I’m really pleased that applications for the Youth Talent Programme are open. This programme will add extra support to athletes and their personal coach at the beginning of their journey to higher level performance. The combination of technical athletics work and educational development over the two years that the YTP lasts will support the individual work the athlete and coach are doing within their club setting. It will also provide direct connection to the personal coach and access to material and courses as the personal coach maps the direction of the athlete through key years of progression towards senior competition.
“I wish everyone success with their applications. We have limited places and I am sure competition for them will be exciting. We also recognise the journey to senior performance is a long one so will ensure that athletes and coaches not successful with their application are involved in England’s wider development pathways and that access to the talent pathways are still open at a later date.”
Dan Wagner, Performance Pathway Manager at British Athletics, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with England Athletics to evolve the Youth Talent Programme, providing opportunities for young athletes and coaches to access support and development experiences, to prepare for the next step in the pathway and for further education and career choices. The dual career programme is key in our ambition to provide holistic support to athletes, coaches and parents and ensure they all have a seamless experience through the talent pathway, and to ultimately fulfil ambitions of UK and Home Country success on the international stage.”
Commenting on the programme previously, sprinter Jona Efoloko said: “[The Youth Talent Programme] was a great experience. It taught me many different skills like nutrition, interview skills, how to control your finances, social media and many more. It also taught me how to deal with situations like injury, poor performances. I also got to meet many different athletes from different events. I really enjoyed my time on the programme, it was great fun.”
Heptathlete Niamh Emerson has also shared her views on the programme, saying: “[The Youth Talent Programme] for me was so much fun especially meeting new people. It provided me with valuable resources both inside and outside of sport. I found it useful for the lifestyle side and career planning in athletics.”
The Youth Talent Programme has been developed in line with the joint vision for the sport outlined in the An Athletic Nation document. The document specifically references Talent Development and seeks to ensure that every athlete and coach has a clear pathway to elite performance. This includes: establishing a clear, safe and transparent system of talent identification and development for all athletes; building strong partnerships with clubs, universities and colleges to support the welfare and development of talented athletes; supporting clubs to develop opportunities for talented home-country athletes to compete at international level; ensuring coach development opportunities reflect and match those for the development of athletes enabling a clear pathway for coaches to grow with athletes and aspire to elite levels of coaching.