Cheshire College learners served Sporting Excellence Diploma by Volleyball England

Cheshire College – South & West continuously emphasises the importance of extra-curricular activities, encouraging learners to go above and beyond their core study programme to maximize passion and further develop their skills.  

Two A Level learners, Rebecca Gaskell and Iona Young, have been selected by their sporting National Governing Body Volleyball England to enrol on the Level 3 Pearson BTEC Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE). 

Rebecca and Iona have been playing Volleyball since Year 5 with a volleyball club at Madeley High School. As they progressed to be pupils at Madeley High School they continued playing volleyball and in Year 8 they joined the Newcastle Staffs Volleyball Club where they were had the opportunity to compete against the country’s best volleyball teams in the National Volleyball League. Last year, playing for the Newcastle and Staffs team, Iona and Rebecca put in excellent performances to support the team in achieving third place overall in the national finals. 

Iona Young and Rebecca Gaskell

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sporting Excellence is aimed at talented sports performers in order to confirm competence in the elite sports arena, specifically the training environment of the learner’s chosen sport, for both the practical and theoretical elements. 

The course will span over two academic years and over the duration of the DiSE programme learners will complete a portfolio of work during the delivery sessions. Additionally, they will record their training and competition hours and engage in Progress Reviews and Professional Discussions (every 10-12 weeks) with a designated DiSE Assessor/Mentor. 

Rebecca, 16, Crewe, commented: “I was very pleased that I’d been asked to do the course. It’s a great opportunity to get a qualification from a sport I really enjoy doing. What we will learn is not just related to sport, for example we will study subjects like Psychology which we can apply to our future studies and all aspects of life. I want to do a Degree in Biology and I think lots of universities have volleyball teams so hopefully I will find one that has a good volleyball team and a course I will enjoy.” 

Iona, 17, Crewe, added: “This is a great opportunity to gain a qualification in something I enjoy, and it will distinguish me when applying for courses at university and jobs. I’m considering studying a Law Degree after I finish my A Levels, hopefully at the University of Cambridge. The DISE should help my application stand out, but it will also give me an advantage if I choose to trial for the England Volleyball team in the future. 

“The course will be invaluable in giving me skills that I can apply in other areas of my life and my future. I have decided to keep my options open for the future and the course will help widen the career choices available to me.” 

Bertrand Olie, Volleyball England Academy Coach and Technical Lead based at Loughborough College which provides the DiSE Programme, commented: “Iona Young and Rebecca Gaskell have been part of the Volleyball England community for several years now. 

“After joining the Volleyball England pathway, we are pleased that they joined us on the Volleyball England DiSE programme through their Volleyball club, Newcastle Staffs Volleyball Club.  This programme is run and managed on the daily basis by Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, with the support of Loughborough College.  

“Joining this programme shows that on top of their sporting abilities, they are ready to work towards another academic qualification alongside their traditional college studies to know more about the Elite athlete life, including lifestyle, finance management, communication and other aspects of this specific life. We believe that it will help them to achieve even more and better on-court and off-court, in the near future.” 

Sarah Bradley, Assistant Director – A Levels, said: “It is inspiring to see learners developing as sportsmen and women alongside gaining their qualifications. 

‘’We are passionate about supporting our learners’ personal development and our dynamic and exciting learning environment aims to give them the confidence and skills needed to achieve and even exceed their goals.  

‘’We are immensely proud of both Rebecca and Iona in their recent achievements.’’ 

The DiSE training and delivery sessions are scheduled between their full-time programme to offer minimal disruption to the learners’ academic study. 

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