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BTC apprentices meet Olympic champion during elite residential

A group of more than 40 Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) apprentice coaches met Olympic medallist Alice Kinsella during a residential at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Newport, home of the British Gymnastics team.

Run in collaboration British Gymnastics, the two-day residential is an annual event open to BTC apprentices working in gymnastics or trampolining environments across the UK.  The learners are all completing British Gymnastics-affiliated programmes with the college, encompassing Level 2 Community Activator Coach, Level 3 Community Sports and Health Officer and Level 4 Sports Coach.  They travelled from as far afield as Leicester, Newcastle, Folkestone and Plymouth to take part in the residential.

Olympian Alice Kinsella led an ‘audience with’ event, delivering an elite level warm-up session for the apprentices and talking about her career as a top gymnast, including her bronze medal win as part of the British National Gymnastics team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

The 2018 Commonwealth and 2019 European balance beam champion also took part in a Q&A, answering the learners’ questions about everything from her diet and training regime to how she dealt with nerves during the Olympic Games.

The apprentices took part in a range of sessions over the two days, including safeguarding, MIND Uplift, which focussed on how getting active can help with mental wellbeing, and Love to Move, which explored working with the elderly and those with dementia.  The final sessions aimed to help prepare leaners for their final assessments and gave them an opportunity to gain a qualification in judging.

Community Activator Coach apprentice Connor Harding, 17, said: “I really enjoyed the weekend overall and all of the different activities I participated in. My favourite was the session led by Alice Kinsella because we were able to join in and attempt the same warm-up she does for all of her training sessions. I also enjoyed the team-building exercises as they gave me a chance to meet new people.” Connor works at Quayside Gymnastics in Bridgwater.

BTC Assistant Principal, Jason Gunningham, added: “We’re proud to work in partnership with British Gymnastics so we can provide excellent learning opportunities like this for our apprentices and students.  Meeting elite sports people like Alice is both a privilege and an inspiration that will create higher aspirations in both our learners and the people and communities they work with. 

“The range of sessions they took part in also reflects a variety of ways in which their training helps support different groups.  Our students are learning how sport can improve everyone’s lives, regardless of age or ability, in ways that go far beyond simple physical fitness.”

BTC provides over 150 different apprenticeship courses at sites across the country, including degree-level Apprenticeships.  For more information about these and other courses, please visit or call 01247 441234.

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