AASE Opportunities for Talented Young Rowers

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence is a unique sporting qualification designed to meet the needs of young athletes who have the realistic potential to achieve excellence in their sport, or are seeking to perform at the highest level as their main career goal.

The programme provides athletes aged 16 to 19 with support, advice and guidance, along with an academic and sporting programme which is designed to help them improve their performance.

There are three potential entry routes into the AASE Programme. Athletes should meet the Junior Trials performance criteria for inclusion, or be identified by the GB Rowing Team Start or Adaptive Talent ID Programmes. It is anticipated that rowers will develop sufficient skills and knowledge to progress on the GB Rowing Team talent pathway or use the programme as a foundation to continue within the sport of rowing in an alternative career path such as: Coaching, Club Development, or Sports Science Specialist Support.

The programme has now been running for three years and has seen more than 30 graduates through the scheme.

One Graduate, Becky Dell, who won the U19 Double Sculls at the British Rowing Championships in 2013, is now rowing and studying for a degree in Physical Geography at Durham University.

“AASE has helped me develop into a more confident and self-disciplined athlete,” she said. “My understanding of how to train and recover effectively is now so much clearer and this has helped me become a much stronger athlete. The main lesson I learnt from the AASE scheme is that rowing requires careful thought, planning and goal setting. I don’t just jump in a boat anymore and pull hard, but I work with my session plans and think about my goals – it makes improvements a lot easier to make!”

Another AASE graduate who has been offered a place at Oxford Brookes University to study next year and continue rowing, Finn Lawton, said: “As well as help and advice with racing at the top level, it was also a great way to meet and share experiences with other like-minded athletes.”

Jess Leyden, World Junior Singles Champion from 2013 is another AASE graduate, and found that the mental skills she developed through the programme and her approach to racing was crucial in her World Championship Final. “When I was sat in fourth place at 1000m I used positive self talk to ensure I used my ability to row through the field,” she said. “There was no way I was going to settle for fourth place.” 

The next cohort will start in September 2014 and anyone interested in the scheme, which is run through partnerships with Richmond upon Thames College (where rowers stay at their host clubs and study remotely for AASE), Gloucester Hartpury and Henley College (where athletes study for AASE and their HE at these colleges), should contact Loretta.Williams@GBrowingteam.org.uk in the first instance and your query will be redirected accordingly.