When it comes to academic courses you’d be forgiven for thinking that they are all based in a classroom. But what if you love sport and want to turn your passion for tennis into a qualification which could lead on to a future career in the industry?

Look no further than Ashton Gate and the Bristol City Community Trust (BCCT) Education Department where the L3 Extended Diploma in Sport in association with the LTA is equivalent to three A-levels and includes work experience as well relevant lessons in business. We asked BCCT Education Manager, Chris Stenner, more about this amazing opportunity. Here’s what he told us …


The BTEC L3 Extended Diploma in Sport Tennis Coaching Diploma is delivered in recognition with the LTA and is a two-year course suitable for post-16 tennis players, both male and female of all abilities, who are also committed to their academic studies. Entry requirements to start the course in September are a minimum of five GCSEs, including English and maths as well as regular tennis involvement.

The diploma is equivalent to three A-Levels, but it doesn’t just offer you a typical education course with playing time: students complete six additional tennis qualifications including their LTA Level 1 and 2. In return for this, they go out and coach in local schools offering free tennis sessions to help inspire the next generation whilst getting some really useful experience on their CVs as well.


Students that come on to the course typically like it due to there being a lot of practical elements. They have the opportunity to put into practice the things they have learnt in lessons and try them out in real life situations. They also have the chance to work with, and learn from, industry experts and that will really help them in the future.

Work experience & skills

During the students’ time studying for the diploma, our aim is to improve them socially and personally as well academically. They are given support to ensure their work is as good as it can be to hit their target grades, but the teachers are always looking for innovative ways to engage students of all abilities.

They get opportunities to complete a number of work experience opportunities on the course which include media, coaching, retail, sport development and much more which can potentially lead to paid work.

And they are put in situations whereby they are stretched in terms of their ability whilst still being supported. This includes going into a local primary school and running a PE session and then going into the classroom to support with reading and writing. Some students would never have thought they could or would do this but it develops soft skills that are invaluable for the future.

A typical day

A typical day involves lessons from 9.00am-1.00pm where we study a range of sports units including anatomy and physiology, business in sport, fitness testing and coaching. This is all delivered at Ashton Gate stadium in classroom situated in the stands which is great for learner engagement as it is so inspiring.

Once the lessons have finished, we head off to training from 1.30pm–3.00pm at David Lloyd in Westbury. Here we are trained by a professional coach on the technical and tactical aspects of tennis and this ensures we are ready to play in the Aegon team tennis during the summer months.

On other days, this training will be replaced by tennis coaching qualifications or tennis coaching in schools so there is a really good variety in what we do.

In total, there are 12 hours of education per week, 4 hours of tennis training per week and 1-day per week focused on coaching qualifications and coach mentoring. It is primarily assessed through weekly coursework with three exams across the two years, it includes training sessions led by LTA qualified coaches and opportunities to take part in national and international trips.

Future prospects

On completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to go to university to study a range of subjects in and outside of the sports industry. Some students have gone to America on scholarships to play and study. Other students have gone on to complete apprenticeships in various industries.

In terms of careers, most people think of sport as the performers, coaches and staff associated with the elite athletes. But this is not the case. There are so many jobs in the sports industry from media, commercial, catering, sports development, business and many many more where you can transfer the skills and experiences learnt from the sports industry into another.

It’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of people want to work in sport – and it is very competitive when jobs come up – so having something on your CV that sets you apart from others is important, such as the work experience and contacts you will have gained.

It is also then important to work hard once you are in the job to ensure you are keeping the job that you are in. Once you have found that job that you love doing, you will not have to work again!

Thanks Chris. @BCCommTrust @BCCTEducation facebook.com/bristolcitycommunitytrust

For further information: https://www.careersnearhere.com/academic/entry/7903/

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