The Scottish FA have been awarded the prestigious UEFA Grow Award for Creativity and Innovation in Organisational Development for their successful transition and delivery of Coach Education courses to thousands of people across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UEFA Grow Awards recognise off-field excellence in national associations’ strategic development, as well as providing a Europe-wide platform for sharing best-practice models and strategic initiatives from across UEFA's 55 member national associations.
With on-pitch learning brought to a halt at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the Scottish FA Coach Education team realised it would be necessary to entirely alter their course delivery methods to ensure coaches could continue their learning.
The team subsequently created, implemented and successfully delivered online Coach Education, ensuring coaches could continue to progress on their respective courses while COVID restrictions were in place.
With no timeline for a return to in-person education available initially, the Scottish FA became one of the first national associations in the world to provide an online model of delivery.
Starting with the creation of a single online course, the association rapidly grew its digital offering to effectively deliver entire courses remotely, from its entry-level grassroots coaching course up to the UEFA Pro Licence.
The transition to an online delivery model also opened up new opportunities for the Coach Education team, with participants from across the globe now having access to the courses, numbers enrolled increasing and new teaching methods offered by the technology all benefitting participants.
The award was presented by football legends Nadine Kessler and Luís Figo in a remote ceremony and comes in the same week that the Scottish FA Coach Education’s transition to online learning has also seen it shortlisted for the Innovation Award in the International Sports Awards 2021.
Scottish FA Head of Coach Education Greig Paterson: “Coach Education is a constantly evolving process, but the prospect of completely altering our delivery models in such a short space of time was a daunting prospect.
“Our team worked tirelessly on the process to allow us to successfully move online during the height of the pandemic and keep moving forward at a time when it felt like the world stood still.
“During the transition, as always, we sought advice on ensuring best practice in everything we do, whilst always being conscious of the concept of reality-based learning being at the heart of our courses.
“When restrictions had eased sufficiently to allow us to again implement practical work on the pitch, the work that we had conducted to move courses to an online delivery model had ensured that participants had continued to progress over the duration of the shutdown, ensuring that little to no time had been lost in their education as coaches.
“The transition ensured that already-enrolled coaches would remain on track in their learning journey, but also allowed us to further grow the numbers on our coaches, with participants from across the globe able to now participate in our world-leading courses.”
For more information on the suite of Coach Education courses offered by the Scottish FA, visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/football-development/coaching/