More than 70 aspiring coaches were at hard at work in the sun last week at Oriam in Edinburgh, beginning their UEFA A Licence journey.
Over the course of nine days, the coaches spent time on the pitch, learning from tutors such as John Hughes.
In the classroom, they heard from guest speakers including referee Steven McLean.
Kilmarnock winger Chris Burke, aged 34, is looking to life after playing football and is seeking to follow in the footsteps of inspirational managers he’s worked under, such as Steve Clarke and Alex McLeish.
Chris, how did you find the start of the UEFA A Licence course?
It was challenging but enjoyable. If you want to learn and get better then you need to test yourself with courses such as the A Licence.
We were split into three groups of around 25 people for the week and each group had two tutors. We would then work on certain drills to make ourselves better at working with different formations.
That is the next step with this course. In the B Licence we focussed more on the behind the scenes aspects of football such as video analysis.
We’ve also done some work in the classroom this time around, hearing from a number of interesting speakers.
What are your coaching ambitions?
This is an open book for me and I need to try everything so I know what I’m good at and not so good at.
The only way you’ll get better at something is if you do it every day and coaching is something I’m passionate about.
I can’t coach all the time as I’m still playing so courses like this are incredibly beneficial as they allow me to improve.
Who are the coaches that have inspired you?
Most recently, Steve Clarke has been magnificent. Watching the way he goes about his business and how he manages a football club has been captivating.
I’m taking in as much as possible in terms of how him and his coaching staff prepare for a matchday and training sessions.
I’m looking to learn from their coaching processes in order to make myself better.
The Manager has brought the town of Kilmarnock together which is a really powerful thing. All of the staff, players and supporters believe in what he’s doing and that has been a massive driving force.
You worked under the current Scotland manager Alex McLeish, what was he like as a boss?
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Alex because he’s the person who gave me my debut and was a massive figure in developing me into the player I’ve become.
He played me at Rangers and signed me for Birmingham. He’s a winner and a deep thinker.
He taught me how to play my position better. When I was young as a winger I would just run up and down in straight lines.
He brought a variation to my play and I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for his belief in me.
I can’t speak highly enough of him and it was great to see him get the Scotland job again.
We’re in a transition period at the moment as a country and there are a lot of changes being made.
We’ve got a bright future and I think we’ll see the current youth players really coming to the fore in the next couple of years.
As a former Scotland player who won the Kirin Cup in 2006, how will the current young players such as Chris Cadden learn from the experiences of playing in Peru and Mexico?
Now is the time for players to cement their place in the starting 11 and all of the guys will be playing the upcoming matches with the attitude that they are playing for a position in the team for the first Nations League match.
Alex will want to try new things and his squad will allow him to do that. With time, we’ll do very well.