See how Nia Davies is thriving with Swansea City thanks to our commitment to providing clear pathways for coach development.
Swansea City Academy coach Nia Davies has already achieved a great deal in her professional life, and is currently undertaking the Premier League's Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme (ECAS) with a view to graduating at the end of 2018.
Through her participation on the course, she has developed a range of skills that she feels can benefit her and the youngsters she works with.
Nia, 28, is in her fourth season with the Swans, where she works primarily with the club's Under-10s boys team. She was given the opportunity to join ECAS as a result of the Premier League's Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Female Coach initiative.
The programme launched in 2015 and provides opportunities and funding for coaches at Premier League clubs and Category 1, 2 and 3 Academies, while making the coaching landscape in this country more reflective of our diverse society.
"The ECAS course was great and it's definitely helped my confidence in and out of a work environment," says Nia. "It's taught me a lot about building relationships and forming a system to help players develop."
The two-year ECAS course places great emphasis on giving participants an idea of how different organisations are structured. Nia believes this has been of huge benefit.
"We went on visits to Sky Sports, Manchester Velodrome, the SAS in the Brecon Beacons and on an international trip to Holland," she explains. "You can learn so much from different sports and organisations, and that's a massive part of the ECAS philosophy.
"I also spent four really interesting days with the Lawn Tennis Association, which was very helpful because you can take elements of what they do and apply it to the football world. The course has been so beneficial to my coaching."
"The ECAS course was great and it's definitely helped my confidence in and out of a work environment."
Nia also thinks the Premier League's commitment to giving more opportunities to BAME and female coaches is a major step forward.
"It's excellent," she enthuses. "I was lucky to have a full-time role with Swansea before I went on ECAS, but I know other women who have got a full-time job as a result of going on the course.
"If you have variety in your coaching staff you cater for all the kids in a different way."