Former Stockport College student, Iain Darbyshire, is a true inspiration to sport students hoping to find success in a career in professional football.
At just 26 years of age, the former Stockport College BTEC sport student has already celebrated a career filled with success in football-coaching that has seen him travel the world and secure the prestigious role of Head Coach for Cardiff City Women’s 1st team.
Since graduating from the college with a BTEC National Diploma in sports science, Iain’s role has taken him to the USA where he spent three years coaching soccer in Miami, New York and Boston. Upon his return to the UK, Iain decided to go back to university in South Wales to complete a football specific degree and gain his UEFA B licence qualification. The licence is one of the highest practical coaching licences available and is designed for candidates with significant talent in coaching techniques and skill building.
I would not have achieved any of this had I not attended and completed the BTEC programme with Stockport College, both for academic and personal development reasons.
“When I came to an open day, I was attracted to the fantastic sports programme, especially the football department, and this was a massive draw for me. There was also the opportunity to study extra qualifications such as sports massage, which I felt would enhance my employment prospects once I had finished college.
“The key skills I learned such as teamwork, communication, and confidence in presenting, along with an enhanced knowledge of the science behind sport, are still with me today and they are skills I use regularly in my current role.”
Over the last four years, Iain has also achieved a BSc in Football Coaching and Performance, and most recently completed an MSc in Advanced Football Coaching and Elite Player Development. His roles working in both the Manchester United Foundation and Cardiff City Foundation have led Iain to his current role as Head Coach of the successful Cardiff City Women’s 1st team, representing Cardiff City FC in the highest league in Wales, and competing for Champions League football each season.
My advice to other students would be to take any opportunities that become available, whether that be work experience, extra modules or even just having the opportunity to learn from more experienced minds. These opportunities are priceless. Moreover, to not shy away from responsibilities, work hard and listen during lessons; to build that confidence and drive that will ultimately lead to a successful career in whichever field they choose. My college experience has impacted on my career pathway enormously, and I would recommend anyone considering attending college to definitely do so and give 100% effort and commitment.
“My ultimate ambition is to forge a successful career in professional football, whether that be in the women’s or men’s game. Football has always been my passion, and this is one of the main reasons why I attended the fantastic programme at Stockport College.”