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How I Started - Community Officer

Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy - British Council
 This article was generously provided to ClubFootball by the British Council, which operates in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.


Name: Fraser Foster
Job: Community Officer, Barnsley FC, England
Nationality: British
How did you first get involved in community football?

"I have been interested in football ever since I could walk, and I signed up with Rotherham Utd at the tender age of ten. I continued with Rotherham United and was on the Youth Trainee Footballer scheme in 1988. I was unable to follow a professional football career and worked out of the game for a year as a fitness instructor, but kept my interest through part-time coaching. However, my passion and enthusiasm for the game was always going to bring me back to it. I became Rotherham's Football and Community Officer at the age of 19 and at the same time passed my F.A Senior Coaching Licence, one of the youngest people ever to do so. I have since converted my coaching qualifications to a UEFA 'A' Licence. I joined Barnsley FC in October 1999 after 8 years with Rotherham working as Community Officer and Youth Development Officer."


Can you describe your job for us?

"My job is to oversee the full range of activities that the club carries out as part of it's Football in the Community Project. At Barnsley this includes a free in-school coaching programme, education days at Barnsley's ground, Oakwell, Saturday clubs, birthday treats, ground tours, holiday courses, teacher training days and an after school club for the Barnsley's really young fans, known as 'Toby Tykes."


What do you enjoy most about working in football?


"I've got fond memories of playing. I played in the Northern Intermediate Cup final for Rotherham United against Newcastle United at St. James Park. And we won. Other proud moments would have to include getting my advanced coaching licence."


What are your ambitions in your role at Barnsley?


"I'm very keen to expand the community role at Barnsley. Our programmes currently reach nearly half of the 90 Primary Schools in Barnsley but I would like to work with more, and reach outlying areas such as Pontefract and Wakefield. To do this I will probably need to increase my full time staff."


Finally, what advice would you give people who want to follow in your footsteps?


"Most importantly you will need to be enthusiastic, not be afraid of hard work, and you will need some kind of qualification too. I recommend you get a formal qualification to compliment your ambition. I completed a BTEC* National Diploma in Leisure and Recreational Management whilst I was an apprentice footballer. I have found this has been invaluable in my work with both Rotherham and Barnsley. An alternative is to complete your coaching qualifications, and the F.A.'s coaching qualifications have now been classified as NVQ's**."


*BTEC Business and Technology Education Council

** NVQ National Vocational Qualification



May 2001

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