In partnership with the EFL and the University of South Wales, Burton Albion Community Trust provide a range of degrees which enable learners to gain their qualifications in a professional sporting environment.

Starting every September, we provide a number of opportunities to gain a full degree qualification across three years, specialising in a number of sports-related subjects. Jonny Leeke is currently in his second year of his Community Football Coaching and Development degree. He had a complete career change and decided to undertake the degree which has lead him into full-time with BACT as an Alternative Education deliverer. We chatted with Jonny about his degree and his choice to get involved with Burton Albion Community Trust.

What made you decide on a potential career change and want to go into higher education?

A life changing event changed my perspective on life and gave me the push to go for what I really want to do with it.

I have had an interest in working within the education sector and in particular sport since I was a teenager, whether it be going down the teaching route or coaching route I’m not 100% sure yet.

Why BACT and the USW degree?

I had been looking at similar degrees at Staffordshire university, mainly because of how local it is to where I live, but couldn’t find anything suitable. I saw on social media that BACT/USW were running this degree,  applied and thankfully was accepted onto the course.

What impact has the USW degree had on you personally and professionally progressing into your new role at BACT?

I feel working through the degree has had a massive positive impact on my confidence, both personally and professionally.

Personally I feel being put into environments that have put me out of my comfort zone have really helped. For example, although I have coached football for a while, being given the responsibility to coach the ADC under 9s for my uni placement has pushed me to improve my coaching to meet the standards expected by the club. Professionally, I have no doubt that knowledge gained so far from my degree has benefitted me in my new role. Simple things like having an understanding of motivational factors behind peoples decision making is useful, especially when working with young people who for whatever reason have lost interest in being at school.

How has the BACT staff helped you along your journey so far?

Honestly, everyone who I have met so far within BACT have been so nice. My degree lecturers have always been really helpful and nothing is too much trouble for them when ive needed their help. I have had loads of support from the people ive been working closely with in my new role, mainly just trying to tap into their experience and taking their advice on board. I think as a new starter its so helpful when your new colleagues have patience with you, giving you time and space to make the inevitable mistakes and for me that’s something ive really appreciated so far working at BACT.

Our online open evening is Tuesday 16th January. For more information on our Higher Education programme, please contact