British Cycling sees “fantastic strides” in womens’ coaching

British Cycling has announced that its pool of female coaches is growing at a “hugely encouraging” rate, after the release of this year’s UK Coaching Awards shortlist.

Monica Eden, Patricia Quirke and Sarah Toone have all been shortlisted for UK Coaching awards. Eden is nominated for Talent Development Coach of the Year while Quirke is up for Coach Developer of the Year, and Toone hopes to bring home Community Coach of the Year.

23% of all British Cycling qualified coaches are women, in comparison to a national average of 17% in traditional sports coaching.

Ensuring that more females are recruited and retained within the workforce is a key part of British Cycling’s Women’s Strategy, which aims to get one million more women and girls on bikes by 2020, and in turn narrow the historic gender participation gap.

Faye Downey, Women’s Cycling Project Manager at British Cycling, said: “This number represents great progress and reflects both the amount of women who have so much to offer in a coaching setting and the level of opportunities which allow coaches to make the most of their talents. From grassroots level right up to the coaching of elite athletes, we have a pathway in place to nurture and support talented coaches, and we are delighted that more and more women are becoming part of this.

“As with projects right across our Women’s Strategy, we know that there is still much room for improvement, but this announcement highlights the fantastic strides that are being made to get more women into cycling.”

The organisation’s Women’s Strategy has rolled out a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging more females into the cycling workforce. 1,200 female Breeze Champions welcome new and returning women to local, guided women-only rides, leading over 10,000 of these rides in the past year alone. A newly-launched pilot programme, HSBC UK Breeze Cycle Skills, aims to provide Breeze Champions with coaching skills specific to female participants.

Once coaches progress through the British Cycling pathway, they can access the Ignite Your Coaching programme. Established in 2016, the programme gives women at different stages of the pathway the chance to share their experiences, pass on their knowledge and learn from their peers.

Helen Hiley, Senior Coaching and Education Officer at British Cycling, said: “Our Ignite programme has gone from strength to strength in recent years, as more and more women have joined the network. We have some truly amazing, inspirational female coaches helping to develop and encourage newer coaches, and to ensure that women make up an ever-increasing percentage of our workforce.

“The fact that we are above the average in terms of percentage of female coaches speaks volumes for these women, and we are determined that programmes such as HSBC UK Breeze Cycle Skills and Ignite continue to offer women a way into cycling.”

 

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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