Q&A with Ash Greenhalgh, EdStart Rochdale Area Manager

Let’s get to know Ash Greenhalgh, Area Manager of EdStart Rochdale, who shares an insight into his education, experiences, goals, achievements, challenges and how EdStart has affected his career!

Which Secondary school did you study at and what grades did you achieve?

Siddal Moor Sports College, Heywood. My Grades aren’t very good as I was more focused on sports teams in and out of school. I was U16’s national champion at volleyball and went to national tournaments with football and handball.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

Definitely PE as I have always been a physical person, I enjoyed every sport taught in PE and tried to be the best every time. I also was very passionate about art in school and was constantly drawing.

After school, what did you do? College? University? Which courses?

Because my grades weren’t very good, I couldn’t get onto the course I initially wanted; so, I went to MANCAT College in Manchester to do an NVQ in activity leadership. This was one of the best educational decisions I have made so far; I learnt a lot from this course and confirmed what I wanted to do for a career – sports coaching. I also met Chris Irwin at MANCAT as he was my tutor on the course, he taught me a lot in that year and really encouraged me to achieve. This is when I realised I needed to work hard for my future. I then moved onto doing the B TECH in Sport course that I initially wanted to do at Hopwood Hall college and then, onto Bolton University to complete my degree in Sports development and coaching. In between these courses, I have acquired a number of different qualifications like my level 1 & 2 football, level 1 tag rugby, level 1 handball, exercise studies, and the main one I really needed to improve on was retaking my GCSE in Math to which I accomplished my goal and got a C.

How did you get into coaching?

I have always had a love for sports, I played most sports growing up and always had a plan of becoming a PE teacher. I changed my mind when I went to MANCAT College and decided from there that coaching was for me. I initially planned on becoming an academy coach at elite level, but once I stepped into a primary school and started assisting with PE lessons, I knew that coaching was the career I wanted to pursue.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?

I coach for the children, I love seeing their reaction when they have achieved a personal goal like catching a ball after I have gave them the coaching techniques or having them come up to me at the end of the session and express how much they enjoyed the session! I also love the fact that I get to share my passion for sports with the children and hopefully influence them to become more physically active and live healthier lifestyles.

What prompted you to take the next step and take an EdStart franchise?

When I was a coach for EdStart, I loved every minute of it and after 6 years, I was ready to step up a level and start my own team of coaches and deliver primary school sports provision within my own area. EdStart gave me this opportunity to go forward and take their services into Rochdale, giving me the opportunity to start my own sports provision.

What are your long-term goals for your franchise and you within your career?

My long term goals for EdStart Rochdale is to be the main sports provider in our area and we are on route of doing this with our short term success! One of our big plans for a long term goal is to have our own EdStart Sports village which will focus mainly on children. In the EdStart Sports Village, we aim to have a number of services, e.g. a fun wall climbing center, dance studio, gymnastics area, astro turf, sports hall and a fitness area.

Another long term aim for myself is to become an academy coach, I have recently become a spotter/ scout for Manchester United with our EdStart Soccer School being a feeder to Manchester United. I aim to achieve higher levels of my football coaching and eventually achieve my lie long dream of becoming an academy coach.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement growing up was becoming a national champion at Volleyball. This drove me to want to achieve more sporting success which I think gives me my drive to try and be the best at everything I do, including in my career.

As a career success, it has to be the fact of running a successful sports coaching service and delivering to over 5000 children since starting in 2015.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a franchise owner and how did you overcome this?

The biggest challenge is the organisation of staff and putting trust into staff to provide our services at the professional standards we expect. To overcome this, I train my staff fully before leaving them on their own, providing them with the knowledge, confidence and professional attributes needed to be an EdStart coach.

If you could give some advice to someone starting out in their career in the education and sport sector, what would it be and why?

Stay driven and positive. The sports industry is massive and has a lot of professionals working in it, meaning it is a very competitive area to work in. As long as they have an open mind to personal development, e.g. qualifications and training, a professional edge like good time keeping, being punctual and having the right attitude, and to have the drive and passion to want to achieve then they will have a very good opportunity ahead of them.


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