Leveraging leadership in sports

British Council partners with Ministry of Education to launch YSL training


THE British Council has partnered with the Saudi Ministry of Education to launch a sports training program in three cities across the country. The program aims to foster youth leadership engagement in sports across the Kingdom.

Opened at a special ceremony at Al-Tarbiyah Al-Namouthajiyah School in Riyadh on Tuesday, the Youth Sports Leadership (YSL) training identifies and works with local coaches and trainers to engage young leaders aged 14-19 in the organization of accessible sports events and programs in their local communities.

Held in partnership with Youth Sports Trust International, an independent charity, the initiative helps build knowledge of sports teaching and inspire the next generation of leaders in community sport. YSL will run over the next two weeks in Riyadh, with additional trainings taking place at schools in Jeddah and the Eastern Province later this month.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Mohammed Al-Moqbel, executive director of the National Center for Professional Education Development at the Ministry of Education, said: "We're delighted to be partnering with the British Council on this training project to improve the quality of sports teaching and coaching in schools across the Kingdom, something which is really important to the nation's Vision 2030 goals and to working to ensure that young people, students and teachers, in every corner of the country have access to quality sports education that inspires and motivates them to lead healthy and active lifestyles.”

The first week of training focused on supporting local coaches and trainers, while the second week will see the trainers put what they have learned into action by mentoring the young student leaders to plan and organize a safe, fun and inclusive sports festival for over 100 primary school students in their own communities.

The young leaders can be as creative as they want with the activity that they choose, from football, which can develop teamwork and fair play skills, to track and field that can drive determination and patience. After the festivals, graduates can take these skills forward to become sport ambassadors within their communities, encouraging others to take up sports in their daily lives.

Speaking on the training and the British Council's wider sports initiatives in the Gulf, Amir Ramzan, the Council's country director for Saudi Arabia, said: "The benefit that young people get from being involved in sports in any capacity is so valuable, from learning about teamwork and inclusion to organization and commitment. We've already seen that even participating in sport just once can impact crucial skills like problem-solving and communication. As one of many projects in our Culture and Sports program, the Youth Sports Leadership project will work with young people to engage them in sport and help them become leaders of the future. We are delighted to have the support of the Ministry of Education in this endeavor, and look forward to seeing the impact with Youth Sports Leadership now and in the next three years.”

The partnership between the British Council and the Ministry of Education comes as part of a Culture and Sports program launched by the Council with the goal of supporting the next generation of sports leaders in the Kingdom. It is also aligned to the pillars of Vision 2030 to help citizens lead active and healthy lifestyles. Through trainings and workshops taking place across the country, the program focuses on giving young people a chance to benefit from sport and culture and use the values they teach to contribute to a more inclusive society.

YSL will run until Feb. 14 at Al-Tarbiyah Al-Namouthajiyah Boys School and Al-Abnaa Girls School in Riyadh. It will be rolled out in Jeddah and the Eastern Province from Feb. 19 to 25. — SG