Academy coaches discuss Club’s commitment to diversity
Coaches at the Academy of Football have spoken about the Club’s commitment to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion run through the fabric of West Ham United.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Kalam Mooniaruck (Head of Coaching Development), Carlton Cole (U15s/U16s Coach) and Lauris Coggin (U13s/U14s Coach) described how – working in an area with 75% of people from ethnic backgrounds – they have been able to act as role models of BAME representation at the Academy, reflecting its standing at the heart of the east London community.
The Club continues to lead the way in this area, having also recently set up a Staff Equality Forum to support the Equality Strategic Group and Board by providing a staff voice for equality-related issues.
The Premier League has also recently put West Ham forward to be accredited with its Advanced Equality Standard, recognising its continued commitment to embedding equality and inclusion throughout the Club.
“I feel like we’re leading the way in having diverse members of staff,” Mooniaruck told Sky Sports. “We’ve got loads of different schemes that allow coaches to link with the Premier League and the FA to join in our Club and what we’re trying to create here.
“We’ve got people who have been players at the Club, and we’ve also got people who are working our way through qualifications that allow them to come and join our environment and help coach the players in east London.
“We’re trying to be as diverse as possible with the staff we’ve got because in the local community here, 75% are from ethnic backgrounds. Probably 50% of our players are as well, so having a variety of staff allows people to make connections with – and make role models of – the people that we work with.”
Coggin described his own journey into full-time youth coaching with the Academy of Football: “I’ve been here five years now – two seasons part-time, then I was lucky enough to be given a full-time opportunity, which was in conjunction with the Premier League.
“I was also able to study an ECAS (Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme) with the Premier League which has allowed me to progress in my own development and visit a number of organisations that have also helped me.
“From my perspective and what the Club have done to support that, there are definitely developments being made. We’ve got an Equality Forum which I am lucky enough to be a part of, and we’re looking to make really positive changes.”
Cole added: “As soon as I retired, I had an opportunity arise straight away for me to come here and ply my trade and learn the game in a different way and in a different aspect.
“As long as I do everything across the board to help myself get in, when the opportunities arrive, I can just show my qualifications and I can move forward.”