As the annual celebration of exceptional sports coaching – the UK Coaching Awards – announces its 2018 shortlist, British Cycling is delighted to announce that its pool of female coaches continues to grow at a hugely encouraging rate.
Of all British Cycling qualified coaches – across all levels and cycling disciplines – 23% are women, compared to a national average of 17% in traditional sports coaching. Three of these coaches – Monica Eden (nominated for Talent Development Coach of the Year), Patricia Quirke (nominated for Coach Developer of the Year) and Sarah Toone (nominated for Community Coach of the Year) – have been shortlisted for UK Coaching awards.
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 to 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.
”As part of the organisation’s Women’s Strategy, a range of initiatives have helped to encourage more women into the cycling workforce. At beginner level, women who are new – or returning – to cycling are welcomed to local, guided, women-only rides led by female Breeze Champions, of which there are now over 1,200.
These women have led over 10,000 rides in the last 12 months alone, and a new pilot programme – HSBC UK Breeze Cycle Skills – has recently launched with the aim of ensuring that Breeze Champions can gain coaching skills specific to female participants.
Once female 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 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.”