Premier League and 2010 World Cup final football referee Howard Webb has given his backing to new qualifications to be offered by Bucks institutions designed to give sports officials a helping hand.
Aylesbury College and Bucks New University will offer the courses in sports officiating and management to help officials already working professionally or semi-professionally to step their game up to the next level. They will also prepare those retiring for a new career.
Bucks New University’s Hugh Mannerings said the courses are being set up because there appeared to be a ‘gap in the market’.
Mr Mannerings said: “We have grouped our subjects around the skills they will need when they’re in officiating.
“The other area is developing skills around business so they understand a little bit about how sport works.
“There are also areas on the social side of sport.”
Officials taking the course will still have to go through the national governing bodies to get their coaching badges.
Mr Mannerings said: “We are not trying to take over what the national bodies are doing, we are looking to complement what they’re doing.
“It’s about giving them a wider knowledge base around sport in general than perhaps what they know when they step onto a pitch at the moment.”
The college is offering a BTEC in sport and officiating, while the university will allow students to do a foundation degree in sport management and officiating and a degree in sport management and leadership.
Mr Webb said he was ‘delighted’ to support the work of the two institutes.
He said: “As well as ensuring our players have the best training possible, it’s equally important to ensure that those officiating in sport also have the correct training and support they need.”