National Apprenticeship Week 2023 featuring Euan Donegan
Growing up, 18-year-old Euan Donegan spent his Friday night’s trying to beat the coaches who ran Dunblane Sports Club’s Junior Night. Now, the racquet is in the other hand with the Tennis Scotland Apprentice running the event and spending his evenings fending off challenges from the next generation of tennis stars.
Smiling, Euan said: “The roles are reversed now. When I was young there was a coach who I used to look up to and I would always try to beat him. Now I’m the coach that all the kids come up to asking for a game and trying to beat.”
“A few of them are starting to get close to me. In a few years at the club champs, I’m going to have to watch my back,” he says laughing.
Looking back on his Tennis journey, becoming a coach at Dunblane Sports Club was always in Euan’s future.
“I started playing tennis at the age of four. We had a big group of kids at the club, and we all grew up playing together. Dunblane is a great community club, and I was enjoying my Tennis so much I wanted to start helping out around the club,” Euan said.
“When I was 15, I would shadow the coaches, organise all the equipment before the lessons and then would sit and watch the lessons and take notes. By the time I was 17 I had completed my Level 1, was taking my own classes, and looking to take coaching further.
“I left school last summer and the Tennis Scotland Apprenticeship programme gave me the perfect opportunity to continue to develop my coaching.”
Now, almost halfway through his one-year apprenticeship with Tennis Scotland, Euan has just completed his Level 2 coaching qualification and has been able to gain unique experiences at Tennis Scotland events throughout the year.
“The programme has been great for networking by offering me the chance to work with other coaches in other environments and to be involved in opportunities like the Billie Jean Cup,” he said.
“Tennis Scotland has a great team, amazing resources, and they’re always driving your development and offering you new opportunities.
“My favourite part of the job is being around the tennis court all day, working with a group of enthusiastic clients and staff, developing my skills, and being able to be active and on my feet all day.
“I think younger me would be pretty impressed with how far I’ve taken this and how I’ve managed to take a sport I love and turned it into a job,” he reflected.
As part of his 25 hours a week at the club, Euan works with his mentor Mark Walker to run adult and children’s classes while learning about everything that goes into running a Tennis business.
“My biggest learning has been to be organised. Preparation is key - you need to have your lessons planned out ahead of time and being early to the lessons.
“I’ve also really worked on the way I communicate with clients in general. It’s a skill I’ve refined around being more professional over the phone and when giving parents feedback on their children.
“You gain a lot of confidence in this job and working with others daily. It’s a lot of fun getting to play your favourite sport every day.”
There’s still work to be done and Euan has his sights set on making the most of the next six months of his apprenticeship.
“By the end of my apprenticeship, I want to start my Level 3 coaching qualification and I plan to either go to university or get a job as a full-time coach.
“I have an interest in PE teaching and my dream coaching job would be to work at a school that has a strong tennis programme and help to develop and drive it.”
The 2023 Tennis Scotland Apprenticeship programme will open for applications later this summer and is available to players under the age of 20 who are passionate about pursuing a career in tennis.