An introduction to the Development Associates Programme – Dan Newton
2020 – 21 has been a game changing year for Parkour UK, the £120,000 award from Sport England which has allowed us to invest in executive capacity and insight has been key. With that as a start we had the challenge of trying to increase our capacity and resources, which is what the Development Associates programme has enabled us to do. Put simply, we identified and recruited a group of people, motivated them the offer 5 days’ time over three months and outlined some project areas that we would have fallen short of fulfilling with our staff team of 3. Earlier in the year CIMPSA featured the programme in their membership magazine.
I have been very fortunate to be given opportunities throughout my career and I see it as an obligation to help others on their way. After we identified the participants for the programme it was very helpful that they were clear about where they wanted to develop. The areas of service improvement, business functions and operations / risk management are ones highlighted by CIMSPA within the professional standards they have outlined for the sports sector.
Within each of the projects the contributors have produced something which will bring genuine benefits to the parkour community, be it resources or a route forward. The capacity that we had within the team would have made progress in each of the areas, but it would have been less significant. We have allocated 12 days’ time to the project, but the results have emerged from a combined 47 days.
The are 3 main reasons the programme has been a success.
Talent and passion – The talent and passion that the associates brought to the project was obvious. The talent has included a comprehensive understanding of university sport, a wide-ranging appreciation of the policies and guidance documents of school sport and an established contact list of schools, but in reality this only scratches the surface. The passion has been the desire to immerse themselves in lifestyle sport and learn as much as they could about the culture of parkour.
Cognitive diversity – From a diversity point of view the programme has brought into Parkour UK a range of lived experience and perspectives that we didn’t nor would otherwise have accessed. If we had spent 12 days’ time as a team on any of the individual projects, we would have had a narrower consideration, three minds rather than four or five. Across the four projects we have benefitted from seven different brains.
Progressive mindset – The Parkour community is naturally progressive. Part of the culture is to develop others and support them to be better than they are, it’s nurturing in a way that doesn’t let anyone finish on their own. All the projects have required the associate to engage with the community and the projects have been successful due to the appetite and openness of the companies.
“What struck me most when interacting with stakeholders of the Parkour community was the selflessness of the organisations. The motives for running their companies were not profit maximisation, but to ultimately ensure they could one day have their own facility so they could provide continuous opportunities for others to enjoy the benefits of Parkour. This is an observation I will take away and relay to others both in my professional and social spheres.”
Mark Cordeaux – Development Associate
Our reflection on the programme
During the next week or so we will share an overview of each project and some reflections from the associates. We are also planning a second batch of projects, for which will recruit a new group of associates. If you (or you know of others) who are passionate about sport and are keen to progress a career in the sector you will be able to put yourself forward.