Transforming and Creating Employment Through Sports

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Lead Organisation:
Universal Football Club
Award Amount:

This project involved bringing people of different ethnic backgrounds to be part of Universal FC.

Universal FC is affiliated with the Scottish Unity Football League that organizes football matches every Sunday from different venues in Glasgow. Universal FC plans to recruit and train people from different ethnic backgrounds in our community so that they can take part in our Sunday league. The idea of bringing together people of different ethnic backgrounds to join Universal FC is all about community integration as well as fighting discrimination in our community.

New Scots reached
Key Information

The focus of this project was to transform and create employment and training opportunities through football for people from African and Caribbean Communities across Scotland. The aim is to ensure that, when they reach the age at which they can break into adult teams, they are better equipped to deal with the transition and the current challenge of lack of access, opportunity into the Scottish Football League as players, coaches, first aiders or trainees. By doing this, we are also giving the coaches we have trained the necessary experience and confidence to successfully manage and coach a football team in other mainstream clubs. Equally there is no financial support for young people from our community to acquire and gain these sporting qualifications, based on our consultation with young people who are eager to take such courses as a way to gain future employment. So the qualifications gained will improve the employability of those involved and increase their chances of finding jobs with sports clubs which, in turn, reduces unemployment within the community.

Key Information

Geographical reach

Glasgow, Renfrewshire


15/09/2021 – 30/11/2022

Target Groups

Refugees, Ethnic minorities, African and Caribbean communities

Project Type

Supporting innovation


At present, there is a massive gap in Scottish football for ethnic coaches, referees and other related backroom staff such as first aiders and personal trainers. As a result, Scotland has not produced many footballers with an ethnic background. Through ongoing consultation with over 400 members and young people within our Community in Renfrewshire, the project aimed to start working with youths from the African and Caribbean Community, recruiting promising young players at grass-root level and begin educating them.

Involvement of New Scots in project

We reached out to participants within the African and Caribbean communities in Renfrewshire and Glasgow via various platforms.

Integration is a vital local issue which requires a local response and thanks to this project, we contributed towards the integration of refugees and asylum seekers with the local community by giving them new levels of confidence and the ability to interact and to be able to express themselves to other people by communicating and speaking in the English language more fluently. The benefit of bringing a diverse community together has a positive external effect in our society because it enables people to respect and understand one another.

The club is made up predominantly of refugees and asylum seekers from ethnic minorities background and have reached out to participants within the African and Caribbean communities in Renfrewshire and Glasgow via various platforms. The main platform we used during this project was to create a WhatsApp group for communicating and keeping participants informed on training programmes and schedules.


The project has unveiled quite a few skills and uncovered potential within the participating individuals. These include good communication skills, good leadership – giving direction on what needed to be done and when, easy to follow instructions, hands on training and refresher trainings, and communication channels to be followed if a problem arose. Refugees and asylum seekers who were usually somewhat reserved, shy and always in their shell have been seen to gain more confidence and integrating more with teammates. The participants also enjoyed training sessions more and sessions seemed more organized and engaging. We believe the confidence gained during this project will be taken into the community and in other aspects of the refugees’ lifestyles.

Challenges encountered

Doing some coaching courses online was different and rather challenging for participants as seeing things in videos and presentation modes was different from real life action on the pitch. Also, some members were not very computer literate, and some did not have devices such as tablets, laptops and internet dongles which were required to take online courses. Transferring what we learned to real life scenarios on the field of play required some good memories and converting pictures to live action. The participants enjoyed sharing ideas and what they had learned.

Managing the funds for pitch hire was also very difficult due to the cost of football facilities hire. This meant that we already exceeded the proposed budget for venue hire at the end of Q1.


To mitigate the financial issue, the club considered raising our own funds by various means such as raffles, football cards or asking for sponsorship from local businesses. We also looked into the possibility of applying for funding to help supplement the funds already secured for the project to complete the project and to pursue further coaching qualifications. In the end, we settled on a mitigating plan to make use of public parks which were freely available facilities as and when the weather improved, and daylight conditions got better over spring and summer.

After consulting with the participants and having a poll, it was thought that there was more value in doing the training for the Levels 1.2 and 1.3 of the Children’s Pathway Level as this could be more widely used and there are more opportunities and requirements for coaches in the children’s game. We decided to use the funds for the Goalkeeping Coaching course to do the Children’s coaching courses as there were no take ups for the goalkeeping course.


  1. Planning – The level of planning which enabled the successful delivery of this project has been a key learning which can be used in other types of projects
  2. Communicating – The delivery of this project involved communicating regularly with participants about various courses, bookings, and attendance of courses and getting feedback from participants on the benefits of these courses.
  3. Structure – The team is now running more structured training sessions for it’s members which are being led predominantly by the participants of this project.