In the past 12 months, 26 graduates have completed the course, and taken valuable steps forward in their coaching pathway, increasing the number of highly qualified Scottish coaches in the process.
Also in the group was Scotland 7s head coach Calum MacRae, Glasgow Warriors props Mike Cusack and Jon Welsh and former Scotland 7s and Scotland A centre John Houston.
Blair, who has recently returned north to play for Glasgow Warriors, said: “The main benefit that I got out of the course was from the feedback in my sessions.
“Rob Brierly, Scottish Rugby’s exile coach, came and watched me deliver sessions at Ponteland Rugby Club in Newcastle. He would make me reflect on what I was doing, in order to improve myself and to think about how I would do things better in the future. I now feel I can push on and pursue my coaching ambitions over the summer and in Glasgow.”
The UKCC Level 3 course acts as a progression for experienced adult and youth coaches who have undertaken their UKCC Level 2 qualification. Scottish Rugby’s coach development department delivers these qualifications, supplemented by a programme of workshops and conferences. It is aimed at head and lead coaches within adult and youth rugby, and those responsible for leading and managing rugby programmes at clubs and schools.
Consisting of three modules, the course is a mixture of practical and classroom-based activities. Participants are assessed on their competence throughout the year. Eighty three per cent of Scottish Rugby’s high-performance coaches – including all age-grade, BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and professional coaches – are now qualified to this level.
Also, nine of the ten 1st XV BT Premiership head coaches hold their UKCC Level 3 coaching qualification. Another 24 coaches will take the course in season 2015/16, including Scotland 7s internationalists Scott Wight and Scott Riddell and former Scotland props Gavin Kerr and George Graham.
2014/15 UKCC Level 3 graduates: Peter Wood (Boroughmuir), Ben Cairns (Currie), Robert Chrystie (Melrose), Chris Paterson (Scottish Rugby Specialist Skills Coach), Nikki Walker (Hawick), John Houston (Royal High School), Sinclair Patience (Highland), David Griffiths (Loretto School), Phil Godman (Morpeth), Rhodri Thomas (North Berwick), Grant Fraser (Peebles), Mike Blair (Ponteland), Andrew Douglas (West of Scotland), Scott Forrest (Ayr), Glen Tippett (Ayr), Jon Welsh (GHA), Graham Knox (Greenock Wanderers), Michael Cusack (West of Scotland), Chris Reid (Hillhead Jordanhill), Duncan Campbell (Montrose and District), Ross Finlay (Ellon), Kris Burney (Falkirk), Peter Jericevich (GHA) Craig Sorbie (GHA), Kevin Tkachuk (Wellington College), Calum MacRae (Scotland 7s)