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Sports community partnership kick starts student careers in football


The University of Wolverhampton is working in partnership with a local community football club to kick start careers in football performance and coaching for sports degree students. 

Staff and students from the Institute of Sport have been working with Sporting Khalsa based in Willenhall, Walsall for the past 18 months, collaborating on providing work placements and jobs for Sports Coaching Practice (Football) degree students who are based at the University’s Walsall Campus. 

Established in 1991, Sporting Khalsa began playing senior football in the local Walsall & District Sunday leagues and, for two seasons between 1995 and 1997, the club played Saturday football at a semi-professional level.  The club emerged from humble roots as a Sunday League side to become established as one of the most progressive outfits in West Midlands grassroots football. 

The club has a men’s team that plays in the Northern Premier League, a women’s football team and offers a 16-18 youth education and sports development programme. 

The University currently has over 10 sports students working with the club on coaching and analysis placements and the team is working closely with the club to develop a post 16 programme of support. 

One graduate has recently secured a full-time job as Head of Analysis with the club. Connah Chalmers studied for a Sports Coaching Practice (Football) degree and graduated in 2020.  He said: “I wasn’t sure what career I wanted to go into but knew I wanted to coach in football. When I was studying my degree, I fell into analysis, and my work placements both here at Khalsa and at Birmingham City Women’s football, working in that professional setting, has helped me bring that experience to my new role.” 

Rus Smith, Lecturer in Football and Coaching at the University, said: “One of the things we do as part of our degree course offering is we work in partnership with those in our local community, offering placements, opportunities, volunteering and student succession into work. It’s really important for our students to get out into the local community both to showcase their learning and to develop their skills which is key to their employability post-University.” 

Jas Batt, Sporting Khalsa Football Development Director, said: “We’re delighted to have a partnership with the University and we’re looking forward to embedding some of the workforce to support our structures and our programmes going forward. It offers students opportunities and gives them a sense of belief. It’s very much about our community and the students bring energy and drive to the football club whether it’s areas such as performance analysis, coaching, team-based or community activity.” 

Charlotte Joynes, a placement student in her second year of the degree course, said: “Working on a paid placement really helps you expand your knowledge and get experience in different settings. I’ve never worked in community football before and it has really helped with my confidence and knowledge.” 

Blessing Arowolo, a placement student in his second year of the degree course, said: “I coach the Under 7s here at the club and, at the moment, I’m assembling a team because next year we’re hoping to compete in the league. I’m using different coaching styles and techniques that I’ve learned on my degree taking into account the different needs of the kids.” 

For anyone who already has the results of their qualifications, applications can be made through Clearing from Monday 5 July. Our Clearing webpage provides further information on all the courses we have available in Clearing. Applications can be made either by calling our Clearing Team on 01902 51 8585 or through our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.   

For anyone who is awaiting the results of their qualifications, they can register their interest and book a phone call with a Clearing Adviser on results day, Tuesday 10 August. 

To find out more about future opportunities at Sporting Khalsa please email 

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.  

Picture caption from left to right: Blessing Arowolo, placement student, Jas Batt, Sporting Khalsa Football Development Director, Charlotte Joynes, placement student and graduate Connah Chalmers.


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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