The first group have now completed the Scottish FA and Edinburgh Napier University's inaugural Undergraduate degree programme, with students joining together at Hampden Park to finish their learnings prior to Scotland's friendly against Finland earlier this month.

The Football Coaching, Performance and Development Honours Degree - designed in collaboration between the Scottish FA and Edinburgh Napier University - was launched in 2020.

This degree programme, which was the first of its kind in Scotland when introduced, sees candidates complete UEFA and Scottish FA awards alongside their university modules. The students have all completed the UEFA C (Adult), UEFA C (Children’s and Youth), UEFA B and UEFA Youth B licence diplomas, while some have also began working towards awards such as the UEFA A-Licence and UEFA Elite Youth A-Licence as they chose to specialise in their fourth years.

The four-year undergraduate programme, based at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus, is designed for people with an interest and some background in football coaching who want to develop a career in the field at all levels, from grassroots to top professional clubs. The course aims to increase the professionalism of coaching as a career by encouraging a more holistic approach, rather than focusing on just on-pitch activities.

15 students have completed the course and they will graduate next month, with one also undertaking a Masters by Research. In addition, three other year groups are currently working towards their own degrees. A fifth year group will start their journey in September and it is still possible to apply for this course by clicking here.

Of that 15, students have already been gaining practical experience, working with Scotland youth national teams, working at clubs including St Johnstone, Kilmarnock and St Mirren, as well as within Scottish FA Performance Schools.

Greig Paterson, Head of Coach Education and Development, Scottish FA: “After a significant amount of planning and consultation prior to the creation of this course, it is hugely satisfying to now see such a talented group of students now completing this award and I extend my congratulations to them all.

“The course is one of a kind and the feedback we have had from the students has been very positive. We believe it’s an important introduction with regards to elevating standards in the coaching workforce in Scotland and I am sure we will see many more talented students graduating in the coming years.”

Dr Cedric English, Associate Professor, Edinburgh Napier University: “We were pretty excited to see the Scottish FA put out a tender for developing a degree programme that linked in a lot of their licences, so we put in an application and we were successful.

“That was the beginning of the process, six years ago, and it took us time to work out how we would incorporate the licences in because that’s the uniqueness of the collaboration. It’s a great feeling to now see the hard work coming to fruition and I would echo the congratulations to the students who have worked incredibly hard to get to this point.”

Ian Donnelly, Coach Education and Development Manager, Scottish FA: “When I speak to people within the game, at professional clubs and within academies, they all say that they wish this course was around when they were younger and that’s great to hear.

“What we’re looking for are young people who have a genuine understanding of the game. They don’t have to have played the game at the highest level, they just need to come in with a willingness to learn and a good work ethic.”

Ewan McLevy, Edinburgh Napier University Graduate and Kilmarnock FC Academy Coach : “I would wholeheartedly recommend the course to anyone. It’s been a rollercoaster ride that I’ve absolutely loved.

“It has opened my mind to different parts of the game that I’d never thought of before and I’ve been challenged but it’s been very beneficial. It’s a course that I couldn’t recommend any higher for anyone who is considering going down the coaching path.”