Scottish FA member clubs are being given the benefit of insight from some of the world’s biggest companies, thanks to an initiative that has been bringing the business and sporting sectors together to great effect.

Launched in 2017, the Teamworks programme pairs up volunteers from Scotland’s business sector to community clubs across the country, utilising the organisations extensive connections to provide each club with a valuable resource of business nous and knowhow.

One such partnership can be found at Milton Sports Club, with the Bannockburn-based side having enjoyed a hugely successful partnership with Deloitte’s Iain Woolley.

“As much as I was excited to join the programme, at the same time I was naturally slightly apprehensive too as it was something different from my usual work and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Woolley.

“I quickly felt very comfortable on the programme though – it’s well designed to match you up with an opportunity that specifically matches your skills and interests – and there is a whole range of resources to support you from the staff at the Scottish FA, the regional managers, online resources etc.

“Furthermore there’s also a real positive spirit of knowledge-sharing between clubs and mentors on the programme. Often you’ll find that your club is not the only one facing those issues, and mentors can therefore leverage off and learn from each other’s experiences, which I’ve found very useful in helping each other succeed.”

From day one, the value of the partnership was obvious to all. With Milton – like many other clubs nationwide – dependent on its volunteers, the chance to tap into a well of expertise through the Teamworks programme is one that club members were determined not to miss.

“We are always striving to develop our club and facilities further,” said Josephine Rodger, secretary for Milton’s executive committee.

“When we heard about the scheme through the Scottish FA, we felt it was a programme that could provide us with professional business knowledge to help our club develop further.

“Local sports clubs in Scotland like ours are vital for providing young people with opportunities, not only to play football but to gain valuable life skills. We play a huge part in the local community and it is important that we continue to support this and improve.”

Michael Martin Kenny, also on the executive committee of the club, added:

“Deloitte has significant business experience, so this partnership provides us with a wealth of knowledge that we can tap into. If you link clubs and businesses like this, it helps to drive the club forward.

“I joined up on the rugby side of things – Milton FC, Bannockburn Rugby Club and St Modan’s Cricket Club come under the wider umbrella of Milton Sports Club – and came on board on the executive committee. There was a project ongoing to change the club’s status to that of a charity, which would help us to apply for funding.

“The initiative really started the ball rolling for us as a club. We achieved the charitable status, so the next stage is all about identifying potential revenue streams for the club. Throughout it all, Iain’s been – and is still – terrific to work with.”

Woolley himself admits that he was struck by the enthusiasm and commitment of those involved with the club straight from the outset.

“My first impression of the club was the passion and dedication of the committee members.

“Clubs such as Milton rely on their committee members giving up a lot of free time for the club, but they do this because of the strong community spirit of the club and the positive impact the club can have in giving so much enjoyment to so many in its community.

“From the first meeting I found the committee’s passion for the club contagious and quickly ‘got the bug’. I was motivated to support them in their mission to help the club succeed.”

So for any prospective participants in the programme, what does the role of the mentor involve?

“It varies depending on your skillset and the project you’re assigned to,” explains Woolley.

“A few examples of the role could include helping choose a corporate structure, drafting a business plan or a budget or giving general governance advices, to name a few different possibilities.

“For mentors with a technical developer background, it could also involve helping clubs building a website or an app as technology becomes an increasingly important part of how clubs operate efficiently and effectively.

“The role of the mentor is not to get involved with the day-to-day running of the club, so you don’t need to worry about it being an overly burdensome commitment. Mentors typically have meetings with their clubs every couple of months, or a bit more or less as needed.”

From Rodger’s perspective, the effect of the programme is undeniable.

“We have been so lucky to have had Iain’s assistance – we couldn’t have progressed the way we have without his help in the scheme.

“We are so grateful. We now have a clear vision of the way ahead and have built up relations with key people along the way.

“Grab the opportunity with both hands.”