Tuesday 25 July 2017

The renowned Premier Skills initiative run by the Premier League and the British Council returns to Cape Town, South Africa at the end of July 2017 as part of their 3-year Premier Skills programme initiative. The Cape Town Premier Skills programme will take place from29 July till 5 August 2017 at the Ikamva Home of Ajax Cape Town with intensive training for 60 grassroots coaches and 24 referees from the Western Cape area. The training will be led by head coach Graham Robinson, a Premier Skills Head Coach with the support of Ben Gibson from Stoke City, and Gary Walton from Middlesbrough Foundation. 

All coaches involved in Premier Skills have a UEFA recognised coaching qualification. The Premier Skills coaches will be joined by SAFA instructors to ensure that the graduates from the programme will be licensed with SAFA Coaching and Refereeing licences.

The Premier Skills programme combines the reach of the British Council with the global appeal of the Premier League to use soccer to develop a brighter future for young people around the world.  The programme brings together Premier League’s proven expertise in delivering community focused soccer projects with the British Council’s on the ground presence and unrivalled experience of developing and implementing cultural relations programmes worldwide. By providing expert training to young coaches and referees Premier Skills programme offers valuable skills development and a clear understanding of how to set up sustainable community projects at grassroots level using soccer to tackle issues such as health, disability, gender issues, social inclusion and education.

The course at the Ikamva Home of Ajax Cape Town is being jointly organised by the British Council, Premier League and SAFA.

British Council South Africa work with SAFA alongside six NGO partner organisations and local football associations: Grassroots Soccer, Oasis, Score, Arise Community Development Project, Ambassadors Football, Football Foundation and Ajax Cape Town Football Club. Coaches who will join the Premier Skills programme and train to become either community coaches or coach educators are sourced through these organisations.

CEO of the SAFA Development Agency, Dr Robin Petersen said:

“Our longstanding partnership with the Premier Skills programme has allowed us further to achieve our goal of training 10,000 coaches per annum across the country.  Linking these coaches to our local structures and NGOs ensures that the skills learned are put to use in the best possible manner.”

Premier League Director of International Relations, Tim Vine said:

“Premier Skills has already had a massive impact in South Africa where we have run the programme since 2013. We have trained some hugely talented and passionate community coach educators and referees, who are now passing on their experience to a new cohort of men and women making their first steps into football coaching.

 “This new first phase course to Premier Skills in South Africa will triple the size and impact of what we are doing in the country. Cape Town and the wider Western Cape has always been a significant focus for our work, and I am sure this next course will create a large number of new SAFA-accredited coaches across the region, who will go on to make a major difference to the lives of young people around them.”

British Council Country Director, Colm McGivern said:

“We’re searching for community soccer super-stars, leaders, inspirational coaches who can make a big difference at the heart of their community in Western Cape.  The Premier Skills programme is like a goal in extra-time…Just what you need; changes games, and sometimes changes lives!”

Notes to Editor

Premier Skills is a partnership between the Premier League and the British Council which uses football as a tool to develop a brighter future for young people around the world.

It draws upon the Premier League’s global appeal and expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network, track record of delivery and world class expertise in English.

Premier Skills is a proven model, influencing institutional approaches to social action through football as well as providing direct training to coaches and referees.

Since Premier Skills began in 2007, 17,715 coaches and referees have been trained in 29* countries, who in turn have reached 1.5 million young people.

6,000 teachers have received training in the use of the Premier Skills English materials, with 6.5 million views of the materials online.

Through Premier Skills English, teachers and learners of English are given free, compelling learning materials, drawing on football-based content from the most exciting football league in the world.

For more on Premier Skills visit http://www.britishcouncil.org/society/sport/current-programmes/premier-skills.

To find out more about the football-focused English content and to view the materials online, visit http://premierskills.britishcouncil.org/

The Premier League is involved in a wide range of community projects both in the UK and overseas. For more information on these see: http://review.premierleague.com

For Press enquiries please contact:


Kim Taylor | kim@go4word.co.za


About Premier League

The Premier League is home to some of the most competitive and compelling football in the world. The League and its clubs use the power and popularity of the competition to inspire fans, communities, and partners in the UK and across the world. The Premier League brings people together from all backgrounds. It is a competition for everyone, everywhere and is available to watch in 1 billion homes in 189 countries.


Graham Robinson

Graham’s focus is to work closely with the Sunderland’s Commercial Department in order to support the Club partners. Graham has three key markets, which are, Africa, America and Asia. The aim is to eventually have 2 partner clubs in each continent. Sunderland AFC already has two partner clubs in Africa (Asante Kotoko in Ghana and Bidvest Wits in South Africa). Graham provides support and advice to both of these clubs as well as sharing best practice.

Graham had worked for rivals Middlesbrough Football Club for over 10 years prior to moving to Sunderland AFC. He worked in a range of roles starting as a casual/ academy coach in 1997 and by 2007, had progressed to Football Development Manager.  Graham is UEFA “B” qualified and is a Coach Educator for the FA. 

Ben Gibson

Ben Gibson works at Stoke City Football Club co-ordinating the Clubs Premier League Kicks project as well as managing the Community Trust’s Operations. Premier League Kicks uses football as a community development tool which tackles issues around health, education, social inclusion and equity. Gibson is responsible for the professional and personal development of community coaches and volunteers as well as creating opportunities for young people to access Stoke City’s player pathway.

Gibson has previously delivered on a Premier Skills phase 1 in Singapore and has also recently co-ordinated ‘Challenge South Africa’ where community coaches and volunteers used the power of football to deliver an equality and diversity programme in Cape Town South Africa. 

Gary Walton

Gary Walton works at the MFC Foundation. His role includes planning, organising and delivering physical education sessions in primary schools in the UK.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org