Coach apprenticeship program propels next generation of sporting stars

Up to 30 developing coaches with the potential and aspiration to be career high performance coaches will be funded for two-year paid working apprenticeships as part of a new national program being launched today by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

Applications are open now through to 1 April 2022 for the inaugural National Generation 2032 Coach Program (NG32CP), which aims to increase the depth and diversity of high performance coaches in AIS-funded Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports.

The AIS will coordinate the program and co-fund coaching salaries, in partnership with the participating State and Territory Institutes of Sport and National Sporting Organisations of each coach. AIS Acting CEO Matti Clements says it is one part of an AIS coaching strategy to make Australia a world leader in coaching development.

“The future success of Australian athletes and sport relies on expanding our coaching pipeline at all levels, so we have a laser-like focus on identifying, developing and retaining our best coaching talent so we can build sustainable success,” Clements said.

“The pathway coaches selected for this program will be given real jobs and be immersed in high performance sport environments for two years under the guidance of a mentor coach, along with professional development support from the AIS, National Institute Network and their National Sporting organisation.

“Our expectation is that these Gen32 coaching graduates will transition into full-time employment at the end of the program and become our coaching leaders of the future. This program is about creating new full-time coaching positions, not replacing them, and we’d hope to see many of them coaching in Brisbane 2032.”

The program, which begins 1 July 2022, will include customised professional development. The AIS will embed four Coach Development staff within the National Institute Network to oversee the program. The AIS will also fund the professional development of the coaches, including six three-day camps at the AIS throughout the two years.

Clements said: “These AIS Learning Labs will focus on contemporary ways of delivering coaching to future generations of athletes through enhanced use of innovation and technology, advanced interpersonal and leadership skills, and an increased understanding of athlete development.

“We also want to put an emphasis on coach wellbeing. It’s common in coaching programs such as these that developing coaches tend to work excessive hours, compromising their coaching, learning and growth.

“While coaching often requires flexible working hours, we want the coaches going through this program to keep their hours in check and look after themselves and each other. Peer networking with other coaches on the program will be a key to this program. We want to encourage coaches to share knowledge and make each other better.”

The NG32CP is part of the AIS’s High Performance Coach Development Strategy, which was released in March 2021 and provides a blueprint for the regeneration of high performance coach development across the Australian sport system.

It is complemented by the National High Performance Coach Development Taskforce which has set a goal to be a world leader in coach development by 2028.

More information on the NG32CP, including application guidelines, are available at