Learn about Andy Gillespie and his work with British Football Academy Singapore
Andy Gillespie recently took some time from his busy schedule as Program Manager at British Football Academy Singapore to tell us about his role and career journey.
About Andy Gillespie
Current Role: Program Manager @ British Football Academy Singapore (since March 2018)
Sport: European Football / Soccer
About the Program Manager role at British Football Academy Singapore?
I work with another program manager, between us our basic role involves organising, running, and promoting our coaching programme.
This includes everything from delivering sessions to designing a syllabus, organising staffing, or creating social media promotions and content.
How does your role contribute to the overall goals at British Football Academy Singapore?
The main thing is ensuring that the day to day running of the programme and all of the sessions that are delivered are done to a good standard. This is the crucial part of the business because if the sessions are not good, the kids won’t come back.
We work with our part-time staff to deliver CPD workshops or organise workshops from experts in the industry, to give them a chance to progress as coaches and deliver sessions to a high standard.
How did you acquire the Program Manager role at British Football Academy Singapore?
I was previously working for another similar company in Singapore for a year when the opportunity for myself and a coworker to create British Football Academy was presented.
We have then worked from nothing to build the company up.
“I have been coaching for 10 years now at various levels and in various cultures, and it is important to be adaptable to your situation.”
What typical equipment, tools & technologies do you use to achieve great outcomes in your work?
Technology has never been a huge part of my role, as the biggest thing is connecting with people, whether that is with the children during sessions or with the parents of the children. To succeed and get children to want to come to your sessions, you need to be able to make the family feel comfortable, trust you, and see the value in what you are doing. I think that is true of any level of football.
Technology has come into play in the recent months due to COVID, as we had to deliver session via Zoom for a couple of months. That was hard work but it was a different challenge and something that I have learnt from.
What methodologies and standards do you incorporate in your work?
A mixture of my own experiences and the experiences of others. I have been coaching for 10 years now at various levels and in various cultures, and it is important to be adaptable to your situation. Some standards are simply just not achievable in some situations.
There are some simple principles that I always stick to, the most simple one being to treat children as kids first and footballers second. Their development as a person takes priority over football and there are some certain values and rules are expected at all times. This doesn’t just apply to the kids, it also applies to the coaches and the parents. The most important thing is to create the right atmosphere, the design of your session doesn’t matter until you get the environment right.
What’s your favourite or go to sports brands for your role in sports?
Nike at the moment as that is the brand of our kit, but usually Nike or Adidas
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be in your role in the future?
Take any opportunity that is given to you, paid or voluntary. I have worked in 3 different countries, with people aged between 2-19, worked in professional football clubs, grassroots football and schools.
Every different experience is a chance to learn, being outside of your comfort zone is sometimes the best thing for your development.
“Every different experience is a chance to learn, being outside of your comfort zone is sometimes the best thing for your development.”
What are some key successes or personal milestones you’ve achieved in your career?
Setting up British Football Academy and being a part of turning it into a sustainable business will always be an achievement for me, but the best feeling is when you see someone that you used to coach go on to achieve something.
That has sometimes been small things like seeing them get into coaching and continuing their love of the game, or it has sometimes been a professional contract.
What’s some advice or knowledge you wish you had been aware of earlier in your career?
Every environment is different. I have learnt the importance of recognising the culture and adapting to it, not just in terms of country but also in terms of what is expected in the organisation.
Trying to hold everyone to a standard that isn’t achievable for whatever reason in the current situation is not productive and is a waste of time and energy, you have to find a middle ground. You have to understand the motivations of the other people in the organisations and the overall goal.
From your perspective, who are some success stories you look up to and why?
The two that come to mind are previous bosses, for different but at the same time similar reasons. Both of them excelled at something in their role, but at very different things.
One was an excellent man-manager who knew every employee inside out, knew what motivated them and knew what made them tick. The other was an expert in coaching and pushed other coaches to achieve that level, everyone respected him because he was an expert in his field.
They are both successful and excel in a certain area, which is certainly something to look up to.
“You have to understand the motivations of the other people in the organisations and the overall goal.”
What types of roles would you like to be doing in the future during your career?
I try not to look too far into the future because you never know what is around the corner. My original career plan which I set out 10 years ago has diverted so much that I have ended up in Singapore, something which I wouldn’t have even thought about when I started, or even 5 years ago.
So I just go along with things, do the best I can and see what opportunities present themselves.
What regions of the world and specific organisations you’d like to be part of during your career?
I love where I am living now, working in other parts of Asia could also be interesting.
In terms of organisations, when I worked in England, Manchester United was THE club to work for, everything that I have seen and heard about their academy is fantastic.
So that is always in the back of my mind, but I don’t think it fits where I am in my career now.
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If you would like to learn more about Charlie Mitchell’s career and connect with him. Checkout his Verlete Sports Profile for more information and details.