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Home or Away? - Neil Connor

There are many reason’s why the British Football Coaches Network website is extremely popular among coaches both at home and abroad, but one of the main reasons I believe is because there are a serious amount of jobs and opportunities put through their site. They have some amazing positions throughout the world with some generous packages even as a Level 1 coach but why aren’t there the same opportunities in the UK for recently qualified Level 1 coaches? This is a subject that will run on and on but having just come back from a coaching opportunity in Vietnam which the BFCN helped me arrange, I am uniquely positioned to highlight some of the reasons why.

If you compare the qualifications needed for similar roles both in the UK and those abroad, I have found that you are required to have at least a Level 2 qualification for a similar position in the UK compared to a Level 1 abroad. There are opportunities to coach in the UK don’t get me wrong but the one’s I have looked at are usually part-time or voluntary and do not offer enough coaching hours for someone who wishes to become a full-time coach and needs more coaching time.

Secondly, the financial package on offer for a similar role in the UK and abroad is somewhat different. Usually, a job abroad will pay for your flights, accommodation and all of the equipment and uniform required along with a competitive salary. They also tend to offer a return flight home during the season if it’s a longer contract. Furthermore, when you are working abroad you are usually able to travel around the country or at least see more of the country than you normally would on holiday.

Thirdly, the cost of living is generally lower than the UK so you find that the money you earn actually goes a longer way which helps in achieving a better way of life. You can also save some money for the return home due to lower living costs whilst also learning different cultures and influences. I came back from Vietnam having fallen in love with Hanoi and have had some of the best memories of my life!

The only negative I can think of associated with coaching abroad is that maybe when you list your experiences of coaching in a different country on your CV there may be a bit of a lack of understanding from a company or club in the UK. I have also felt that people hiring in the UK requiring coaches with a Level 1 aren’t too appreciative of the commitment working as a coach abroad takes. I have sent off numerous CV’s to companies looking to hire Level 1 coaches in Sussex and only 1 International School have got back to me but at least that meant that I have got some summer work as a coach.

All in all I believe that working abroad as a coach is a fantastic way of combining travel and work and it has meant that instead of accepting 1 of the 3 jobs I was offered to coach abroad upon my return, I have decided to complete my Level 2 FA Coaching Qualification at home. I can then make a permanent move abroad or at least increase the level of opportunities abroad. In fact, I have just seen a job on BFCN that makes me believe that I am taking the right course of action.

Having travelled through Japan and discovered how amazing the country is, a job advert placed yesterday offering work as a Level 2 coach in Japan has made me want to complete my Level 2 ASAP. The ability to work and live in Japan and get paid to coach kids how to play football is a dream I will one day achieve!

Follow Neil and keep updated with his achievements through his platforms blog here!

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