By swapping boilers and pipes for footballs and cones, a young Dad from Brackla is well on his way to a new football coaching career thanks to Employability Bridgend.

Over the last three years, Bridgend County Borough Council’s employability support service – which is funded by Welsh Government and the European Social Fund – has helped 31-year-old Sam Jackson become a fully qualified coach after his earlier career as a plumber ended on medical grounds when he developed epilepsy.

After spending a while out of work, Sam decided to re-train in order to support his young family. Having discussed his options with an Employability Bridgend mentor, Sam was enthused by the possibility of football coaching as he’d always had a keen interest in sport.

The pathway to becoming a qualified coach was explained to Sam, and Employability Bridgend paid for him to complete his FAW Football Leaders, Safeguarding and First Aid courses which were necessary for him to coach voluntarily.

The next step was to enrol on the FAW C certificate, and he then became involved in coaching the Bridgend Town FC U18s, followed by a spell with the Bridgend Tref Seniors. He completed his UEFA B Licence in April 2018, which was also funded by Employability Bridgend, and he has since gone on to secure voluntary and paid work with a professional football club.

Explaining his journey further, Sam said:

“When I first joined the project I didn’t know what to expect. I had to give up my job as a plumber because I developed epilepsy and at first I wasn’t sure that joining the project would get me anywhere.

“After my first meeting with Bill, a mentor on the project, I left feeling really positive and that I could still achieve something, even with the barriers I faced at the time. We had talked about doing a football coaching course because I have always played football, and I’ve also been involved with coaching football teams.

“I then met with Adam, a Skills Trainer and he showed me what the pathway was for somebody who wanted to be a football coach, and he supported me through each of the courses. Becoming involved with the project and doing the coaching courses has given me my confidence back.

“I’ve played football since the age of five and if it wasn’t for Employability Bridgend I wouldn’t have been able to fulfil a big ambition. It has given me something to aim for, a target to achieve, and hopefully a professional career in something I love to do.”

Sam is now aiming to improve his skills and experience further by studying for a Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development which he hopes will lead to long and successful career in football coaching.

Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said:

“I’d like to congratulate Sam on the big strides he’s taken towards employability and for making his family proud. Employability Bridgend offer a wide range of support to anyone over the age of 16 who is looking for work, wants a better job, or would like to improve their skills by gaining new qualifications.

“From writing CVs and interview techniques, to free training and qualifications, Employability Bridgend provide help that is tailored to each individual’s needs. In Sam’s case, he has shown tremendous determination to improve his own job prospects and is an excellent example to others.”

To speak to the team about how they could help you, please call 01656 815317 or email