College launches new rugby performance programme

A new Gateshead College programme will enable young rugby players to benefit from a recognised qualification while gaining the skills to improve as club players.

The college is launching the initiative in association with Darlington Arena next month and is looking to recruit talented rugby students to the programme to study for a BTEC Level 3 in Sport.

Those who join up will be able to take advantage of expertise and guidance from top coaches while training and studying at either Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport or the Arena. There they will be able to benefit from some of the best equipped playing, training and classroom facilities in the region.

A key feature of the programme will see students benefiting from close links with local universities and other professional UK sports organisations as well as local businesses for input and advice on job opportunities and longer term career progression.

They will also be able to continue playing for their own clubs at weekends as they complete their studies and put into practice the skills they have learned on the course.

The BTEC Level 3 in Sport offers the opportunity for progression to either higher education or into employment within the sports industry, health and fitness sector, sports development or sports coaching fields. Studies include practical sessions, workshops, seminars, team work, independent study, guest speakers and trips and visits.

Liam Gumbrill, rugby coach at Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport, is overseeing development of the programme, including organising an open evening later this week (February 21) at Darlington Arena where local sports clubs can find out more about how they can benefit.

Clubs are invited to send a member of coaching staff, committee member or parent who will the be able to stay to see England Countries take on the Irish Club’s on the same night.

He said: “The new programme is a great opportunity for youngsters to stay in post-16 education to gain new skills, experience and a nationally recognised qualification.

“They’ll also benefit from our superb coaching team and mentoring expertise at the same time, gaining the important tools to develop in their chosen sport.

“We want to ensure that we help students to fulfil their potential and perhaps go on to forge a worthwhile career in the sports industry or as a professional player.”

Danny Brown, Darlington Arena manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome Gateshead College to the Arena. It’s another great addition to our community.

“The ambition and vision for the facility which has been enveloped by Gateshead College management will produce a fantastic educational and practical venue for any youngster wishing to develop themselves.”

At the launch of the programme on March 1 at Darlington Arena, students will be able to participate in coach-led training sessions followed by a presentation and question time. They will then have the opportunity to watch Darlington Mowden Park RFC’s match against Sedgley Park in the SSE National 2 North league fixture.

Contact Liam Gumbrill at or tel: 0191 490 2447 for more information and tickets.