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UKCC: What does it mean to you as a coach?

By Julie Mackintosh: sports coach UK Coach Education Advisor

Why did UKCC come about?
The UKCC came about after the Coaching Taskforce in 2002 recommended implementing a National Coaching Certificate, which would be set  against national standards.

At the time there were no standard levels across coaching qualifications, so a Level 2 in one sport could be a level 3 in another.  A very confused landscape. 

The pilot endorsements started in 2006, with sports coach UK working alongside Skills Active. The process is now solely undertaken by sports coach UK

What is the UKCC?
UKCC is an endorsement of a governing body of sport, coach education qualification programme.  The endorsement is gained by meeting a set of criteria that are built on best practice from the sport’s industry.

There are Three level descriptors

  1. assist more qualified coaches, delivering aspects of coaching sessions, normally under direct supervision
  2. prepare, for deliver and review coaching session(s)
  3. plan, implement, analyse and revise annual coaching programmes

What the UKCC isn’t

  • a qualification in its own right
  • a one-off endorsement of a Governing Bodies qualification

How many sports are endorsed?

  • 32 Governing Bodies engaged at Levels 1 to 4
  • 138 separate  qualifications

How do I know my sport’s qualification is UKCC endorsed?
 Look out for the logo, only qualifications with the logo have been endorsed


What do we mean by endorsement?
Each qualification is assessed against learning outcomes - developed by breaking down the role of the coach - known as common units. These units are matched to the National Occupational Standards related to coaching in sport.

The UKCC endorsement process looks at the journey of the learning coach and covers four main areas:

Quality assurance
The governing body has to have a robust internal verification process and work with an Awarding Organisation who quality assures using an external verifier.  Each qualification has to have a technical programme reflecting the needs of the athlete or player being coached and is developed by the governing body for that sport. There must also be a:

  • registration period
  • appeal procedures and
  • pre-requisite

...which are clearly explained to the learner coach at the start of the course.

 The qualification must sit on a qualification framework. In England, Wales and NI this is can be the QCF in Scotland is the SCQF.

The learning programme
The learning programme includes face-to-face learning and tasks undertaken away from the course, both practical and theory driven. The coaches and participants’ needs are central to the learning programme.  The learner coach must have opportunities to practice in a supportive environment, with time given for assessment and meaningful feedback. The learner coach can also expect small group activities, including discussion and written tasks.

Resources can take a number of formats, be it books, DVD, CD,websites or e-learning. The course resources should:

  • re-enforce learning, 
  • build on learning from the face to face delivery or, 
  • introduce new learning not covered elsewhere on the course

Resources should be available to all who access the course, but also give further opportunities for learning such as links to websites, further reading or workshops available.

  • The course delivery workforce

The qualification-delivery workforce is made up of Tutors, Assessors and Internal Verifiers. They all undergo training that is matched to National standards. The governing body must have criteria for recruiting the workforce and a method of re-accrediting them. The entire workforce has to agree to ensure they are up to date with current coaching practice and manage their development for the role.

A non-endorsed qualification may have some of these elements within a coaching award, but sports whose qualification has been UKCC endorsement guarantees it.

How long is a qualification be endorsed for?
A qualification is generally endorsed for 2 years. One of the conditions of endorsement is to continually develop the coach-education programme.  The Coaching Standards Group*will ask for evidence at the re-endorsement stage.

How long does the course last and how much does it cost?
The governing body sets the duration and cost of a course, plus the technical content.

Coaching Qualification


UKCC Endorsement

Your coaching portfolio and practical assessments

Submit evidence against set criteria

The submission documents, detailing the evidence against the UKCC endorsement criteria.

  • Observation of practical assessment.
  • Marking of portfolio.
  • Feedback on both from assessor.
  • Action plan agreed

The evidence is assessed, and feedback is given.

ITR**assess the evidence.

Feedback given to Governing body.

Action plan agreed

The governing body will have trained verifies to attend a given number of courses.

Internally verified.

The Head of Education at sports coach UK will verify the submission and evidence.

The awarding body will verify a given number of courses

Externally verified.

The Coaching Standards Group will verify the process and the decision

*The Coaching Standard Group is a subcommittee of sports coach UK and its main function is to oversee UKCC endorsement process and to maintain standards.

**The ITR is made up of panel of 3 coach education experts.


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