A TEENAGE sports coach with Tourette’s has revealed how pursuing coaching helped him develop new confidence.

George James, who was recently named Oxfordshire Apprentice of the Year, coaches with Oxford-based Ignite Sport.

The 18-year-old’s tics are certain sounds and movements, and are triggered by being in uncomfortable environments where he feels pressure.

However, he is celebrating scooping two gongs at the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards.

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He was jointly awarded Apprentice of the Year, plus a special recognition award for overcoming barriers and challenges.

He said: “Winning Oxfordshire Apprentice of the Year and the special recognition award was incredible and I’m so thankful to everyone who made it possible.

“An apprenticeship worked for me because I was learning so much every day through shadowing experienced colleagues and receiving valuable education.

“Daily responsibilities with the support of my colleagues helped me find fresh confidence in my ability to carry out tasks in a professional environment.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to broaden your understanding of a career you are interested in while earning money and gaining a recognised qualification.”

The teenager is now at Oxford City FC. Picture: Fortitude Communications

The teenager is now at Oxford City FC. Picture: Fortitude Communications

After completing an apprenticeship in community sports coaching, Mr James is now doing a second apprenticeship in customer service with Oxford City Football Club.

His new role means he will help oversee the smooth running of events and operations at the Velocity Stadium.

“My Tourette’s has been easily manageable during both of my apprenticeships,” he said.

“I feel much less pressure in a working environment than I did at school.”

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Hannah Bladen, general manager at Ignite Sport, added: “George has grown into a confident and mature young man during his time with Ignite Sport.

“He has proven himself to be an excellent role model to other young people facing adversity.

“No matter what was put in front of him, George has always given 100 per cent and has naturally developed his confidence and become a vocal and bubbly member of the Ignite team.

“He has followed his passion for sport, found an apprenticeship, and gave it his heart and soul.”