Learning goes both ways for Midlands apprentice Jones

May 6, 2023 | by Chris Boyd


England Boxing’s Community Boxing Apprentice for the Midlands, Joshua Jones, says sign language is the standout skill he has learnt whilst putting on inclusive sessions at Sense in Birmingham.

As part of the apprentices’ programme with England Boxing, they are required to put on community outreach sessions with the aim of making boxing more inclusive.

Jones has been achieving this by hosting sessions for individuals with disabilities at UK charity Sense’s TouchBase Pears in Selly Oak.

Those sessions have combined the fundamentals of boxing – skills that Jones learned during England Boxing activator courses – with fun games, all in the hope of engaging, supporting, and retaining participants’ interest in boxing, sport, and physical activity.

The sessions have been a success, with Jones crediting a significant skill he has learnt during the partnership with Sense.

He said, “Since working with Sense I have learnt a variety of different skills, but the skill that stands out most is sign language.

“I had to learn the basics so that I could communicate with one of my participants that has a hearing impairment.

“It’s helped me adapt my session and break down that barrier. I can deliver the correct information, keep the session inclusive and engaging, congratulate them or ask if they need a break.”

It’s a skill that Joshua believes will help him going forward, as he works to make boxing more inclusive for the communities in his region.

“It’s going to help me in future sessions as I’ll be able to make them more adaptable and recognise changes that need to be made to make sure the correct information is conveyed.”

The Midlands apprentice is also grateful for the personable touch it has provided.

“During and at the end of my sessions, I always ask participants if they have enjoyed it.

“Learning sign language has allowed me to engage with my participants and reflect on what they enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the session.

“It’s a great skill and it’ll help me continually improve my sessions.”