Lamar Fletcher wasn’t quite sure what direction he was heading in when deciding to attend the Premier League Works programme organised by Wolves Foundation.
He probably had something of an idea about which step to take in his career, but it wasn’t crystal clear.
And so the course, designed to offer opportunities for those who weren’t already in education, employment or training, came at the perfect time.
Fast forward two years, and Lamar is now employed as a casual coach for the Foundation working with young people of all ages, has enrolled on the degree programme starting next month becoming the first person from his family to study at University, and harbours ambitions of one day working within Wolves’ Academy.
Prior to landing the casual coaching work, he had also been volunteering with the Foundation, most notably on the Head 4 Health project funded by the PFA which gave him a real look at life with the charity.
It has already been quite a journey and one which appears to have plenty more chapters still to come.
“I first got involved with the Foundation a couple of years ago,” says Lamar, a former student at Highfields School in Penn who has already completed a Level 2 NVQ in Sports Coaching and Level 3 Performance & Excellence in Football at Dudley College.
“I saw they were promoting this employability programme and because I am really into things like team-building and working in groups, it just looked like something that would really appeal to me.
“I spoke to Jonny (Education & Skills Manager Jonathan Warburton), came along to do the eight-week programme and really enjoyed it.
“There were a lot of different activities, including interview techniques and looking at CV building, and it also opened up some doors into coaching, which I found really interesting.
“Whatever you put me down for, I will do it, and I always enjoy the challenge of getting things done and trying to improve.
“I loved every minute of the course to be honest, I worked hard and was really committed to it and from there it has helped me move into something that I really enjoy doing.”
That ‘something’ was indeed coaching, and Lamar went on to spend a year taking sessions at the Arena at Aldersley, learning about everything from preparation behind the scenes to delivery to young people.
“It helped me improve my confidence and showed me how to work with young people and improve them, whilst all the time making sure they are enjoying their football like we all do!” explains the 22-year-old.
He has since progressed to becoming a casual coach for the Foundation, involved in a variety of projects including the Advanced Centre, PL Inspires for older children at St Chad’s School and PE lessons including basic co-ordination skills for younger children.
That ability to adapt is key to helping Lamar further develop his skills, and that is a process which will now continue as he dovetails his work as a casual coach with three years of study on the degree for Football Coaching, Development and Administration in partnership with the EFL Trust and the University of South Wales.
“It’s another experience and one I am really looking forward to,” adds Lamar.
“University is probably not something I might have thought I would be able to do growing up, and no one in my family has any experience of going.
“They are very proud of me, and it’s a great opportunity to carry on developing and making progress.”
Lamar continues: “I always wanted to know what it was like to be a coach and my favourite role model is Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I know a lot of people would say it but I think he is the best that is out there.
“His leadership qualities are incredible and with the players he worked with he made sure he helped them both on and off the pitch.
“For me, in the long-term, my aim would be to work in the Academy if it was ever possible.
“To be able to coach in a football academy? Yes I’d absolutely love to do that.”
For Jonny, Education & Skills manager, the story of Lamar’s progress is a ‘perfect example’ of what Wolves Foundation can offer.
“I think Lamar is the perfect example as to why we run programmes and projects at the Foundation,” he says.
“We first met Lamar in 2018 and his development and confidence has shot through the roof over the last few years.
“He has always struck me as someone who will go out of his way to help others and just has a great willingness to learn more.
“I am thrilled that he has taken it upon himself to further his education with us by joining our degree programme.
“I know he harbours ambitions to become an academy coach and his experiences over the next couple of years will be important in reaching his goals.
“Lamar has an infectious personality and has really impressed staff on the projects he has been a part of.
“I’m delighted he took the step to join our employability programme a few years ago because he deserves all the success he is getting.”
For Lamar, two years on from attending that employability course, he is equally delighted to be part of a charity like the Foundation carrying out such important and innovative work across the city.
“Being involved in an organisation like Wolves and the Foundation is amazing,” he concludes.
“There are so many projects out there and the Foundation does fantastic work helping people to do well in life.
“Having access to some of these activities is something I’d have really enjoyed when I was growing up, and now I am trying to give my experience to the young people who come along.
“I am so glad and honoured to be a part of it, and I am loving every minute.”