This is the career journey of how Jake Littleton, 20, has gone from studying at the Yorkshire Cricket College (YCC) to securing an apprenticeship as a community activator and recently landing a community development officer role with the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, in partnership with the YCCC Youth Charitable Trust, in just four years.
Why was studying at YCC the right choice for you?
I’m not necessarily academic so I thought I would enjoy my time at cricket college more than I would anywhere else. And I did! I just thought I would rather go to an education provider which suited me, and where I knew I would be happy instead of other ‘traditional’ routes like a sixth form college and then onto university.
At the college there was more opportunity for 1-2-1 time with tutors instead of a big classroom environment. At times I needed that 1-2-1 time where tutors can extra support and I didn’t feel like I was being filtered out – which sometimes happens in a school because of the class size.
If you want something different to a school environment and you’re looking for an environment where you are treated like an adult and get a bit of freedom it’s the place to go. You take ownership of what you do and being at the college gives you a lot of independence – you’re around adults, you’re in a professional environment, you learn that sense oof discipline in terms of training and you have that pride when you’re wearing the Yorkshire Cricket College badge.
What were your highlights from college?
Having the flexibility of learning and then having the practical element through coaching felt very professional. We were surrounded by such a brilliant cricket environment – surrounded by professionals. One day Johnny Bairstow walked into one of our lessons and was chatting away to us. Just the whole experience made you feel like you were part of Yorkshire – not just the college – you felt like you were part of it all – like one big family.
But for me I would easily say that the annual tour away to South Africa was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I have so many memories from it, and everyone became a lot closer – you spend every week with them in college but when you’re there them 10 days in a hotel – you get really close. That experience I would do it 10 times over if I could.
It was brilliant playing cricket in South Africa against local teams but it was so much more than just cricket. We learnt a lot about where we went – we even had the chance to go to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner and we learnt about a lot of the culture and history of South Africa and it wasn’t just about going there to play cricket.
What life skills did you gain from studying at YCC?
I gained so many – independence and ownership of your own work were massive and I also learnt a lot around organisation – you have to be organised to get on.
For me learning key communication and people skills were also a big thing. If you need help you need to communicate that. College was a stage where you really become an adult – you’re in an adult environment where you’re supported to become more independent and mature, and you have that freedom to learn and make mistakes. It was just a lot of growing up in those two years and it naturally models you into who you become.
How has going to the Yorkshire Cricket College helped your career path?
I decided to enroll on the BTEC level 3 Diploma In Sport course at the college – which is the same as studying three A-levels. This helped me a lot because the traditional A-Level route wasn’t for me and by going to YCC I could get a great qualification that combined learning alongside lots of practical elements.
A lot of the course and studying was around sports science – and learning about the anatomy side of it was really interesting and opened different opportunities and career options up to me that I could go down. For me, I went in very passionate about cricket and it was great because you get to play cricket, learn about the analytic side and coaching experiences. But you don’t have to be into cricket to study at the college – there are all sorts of other opportunities. For example you learn a lot around health and wellbeing and fitness as we had access to the gym, with personalised plans provided by the coaches. So if you’re not necessarily interested in cricket there are still lots of options and opportunities for you.
A really big thing that helped me was there were a lot of work experience elements and signposting to opportunities at the college and extra qualifications to gain. I was able to do a support coach qualification and then a Foundation Level 1 cricket coaching course, and also first aid training.
Thanks to studying with the college I was then given the opportunity to help coach young people on one of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s programmes – Crick-EAT. This was a brilliant experience, and this then led to an opportunity in a paid apprentice role at the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation as a community activator.
My role has taken me across Yorkshire and I’ve worked on so many amazing projects – like running cricket sessions for people seeking asylum and refugees. This has been a real highlight because you can see first-hand the benefits people are having. I’ll run a session for an hour – and it’s probably the best hour in the day for them – you see smiles and hear laughter and know that you are making a positive impact on someone’s life. And I’ve also had the chance to support Beach Cricket events and take ownership of the Foundation’s Pop Up and Enjoy cricket programmes for young people.
Recently I’ve been given the chance in a full-time role with the Foundation, thanks to funding from the YCCC Youth Charitable Trust, and this is because of the hands-on experience and knowledge I gained through the college and the opportunities that then came after.
The people make how much you enjoy your job and everyone around me at the Foundation is really motivated and doing a good job. Everyone is very uplifting – if you are having a bad day there is always someone to lift you up. The office is more like a family at times and it’s helped getting to know people on team away days – you get to speak a bit more outside of work – it’s good to get to know people.
Yorkshire Cricket College
If you are looking for an exciting option after GCSE’s or know someone that is – find out more about YCC here.
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