Development Associates Programme Pt 3. – Education Settings

Omar Jackson

Parkour has been in schools for a number of years now, even before it was recognised as an official sport. Companies have had a mixed experience of getting into schools, and within those that are successful there are a variety of different models that they use.

There has always been a link between parkour and universities, for some reason university campuses always seem to have a lot of training spots. As some practitioners have gone to university they have tried to develop relationships with security as well as student unions and societies. They have a similar experience to companies do getting into schools, but slowly more students are setting up societies, jams and meet ups.

Improving the relationship in these 2 sectors by understanding them and creating some consistent tools is something Parkour UK is interested in developing for our members.

It’s been brilliant to support the development associates on these programmes and hear about some of their experiences.

Our development associates Tarryn and Lara took charge on the schools project:

“During the programme, I have worked on the school’s project to gain insight and create resources to increase Parkour delivery in schools. The experience has been enjoyable and has met my expectations, as I have built relationships and expanded my network with the parkour community and broader sport sector. I have improved my stakeholder management and sport development understanding through experiences with the NGB, its members and links to UK active partnerships. Participating in the programme has been flexible and provided me with sport industry experiences, which has been valuable during uncertain times.” Lara

We introduced the team to some of our members who have had success working with schools. They were asked about their successes and challenges, and what documents and tools were important for a good relationship with a school.

The DAs also created a survey shared to their own network of schools in Birmingham and London and this led them to learn about schools current understanding and beliefs about parkour – which was a mixed bag!

As always, the connection between the DAs and our members has been crucial and has been mutually beneficial for both – building networks, knowledge and understanding.

“Working within the greater Parkour community has been a highly rewarding and eye-opening experience. It has developed my appreciation towards the benefits of collaboration where a sport-passionate community all contribute towards each other’s success and for the greater good of Parkour reach and development. Not only have I improved my networking skills through new contacts made but have gained first-hand experience working directly with Parkour companies and coaches. This has enhanced my communication and relationship management expertise.”  Tarryn

This insight led to the creation of a toolkit containing templates and informative documents to aid companies through their journey of coaching in schools.  This includes a myth-busting FAQ to address the common concerns schools have and a series of template documents such as risk assessments for the companies to adapt to their own delivery.

For the Universities programme we worked with Simon Vardy who has a background is in the university sector – currently working at Sheffield  University.  Simon was ‘flying solo’ on his project and we acknowledge and thank him for his enthusiasm, even working on his own!

“My specific project has offered me the chance to work quite closely with the University parkour community. It has been a really interesting opportunity to learn more about the difficulties that these clubs/societies have to face, but also the great drive and enthusiasm that they all share. It’s a fascinating community to interact with as everyone does just seem to be one big community, regardless of whether they are University students, Parkour UK staff or general local community members, everyone just wants every to enjoy what parkour can offer. “ Simon

The most exciting thing about Simon’s project was the ‘discovery’ of quite a broad network of University Parkour Societies that Parkour UK simply weren’t aware of. Simon has given us a connection to this community and that in itself is invaluable.

Simon worked with a number of the university societies to understand their challenges and their needs and created a series of tools that our members will be able to access:

  • A facebook group for university parkour societies
  • A document of all university parkour societies in the UK
  • A series of templates/generic docs which help students introduce Parkour into universities

We are pleased that the feedback from the university societies and from Simon has been really positive and they have seen a lot of value in the programme.

“Moving forwards, my plan is to take the experience and understanding I have gained as part of this programme back to my current role and see how this can help me personally expand my view and how I can help develop those involved with my programme. I’m also planning to use it to help me improve and develop on to new challenges and opportunities that I wouldn’t have thought myself suitable for without gaining the experience of this programme. “ Simon

Were really thankful to Tarryn, Lara, and Simon for bringing their outside knowledge of schools and the university sector, as well as their wider network. With it they we were able to give us insight and reach way beyond anything we would have been able to deliver within the Parkour UK staff team. The time they given us has been invaluable and we’re excited to share the toolkits with our members in the coming weeks.

Next up in this blog series our CEO Dan Newton will reflect on the programme as a whole and outline our ambitions for round 2 – and how you can get involved.