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IDEALS is one of a number of UK Sport’s bespoke partnership programmes. It provides a strong link between UK institutions and our international sport stakeholders, creating channels for mutual learning between the UK and our international partners.


IDEALS Zambia: The IDEALS project started in 2006. The project has been proven to have a lasting legacy through wider IDEALS Alumni and specific University engagement outside of the June to September period, when the students and staff are present.


Started in 2006, IDEALS is now operational in 3 countries, working with 10 local organisations, including Non-Governmental organisation (NGOs) and/or National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and is linked to 10 universities across the UK. Since 2006, more than 350 students, 60 university staff members and 30 young professionals have participated in the programme.


IDEALS works in partnership with British universities and international partners to offer students the opportunity to work together with local sports volunteers, learning from each other and developing their personal and professional skill set. IDEALS adds value to existing sport and development programmes in country by enabling those involved to gain practical experience of sport development whilst developing their leadership and coaching skills. In addition, the programme acts as cultural exchange, learning from peers in different contexts.


IDEALS Core values are:


  • Mutuality and reciprocity – working together with a shared responsibility (resources, skills, knowledge and experience) for the project.


  • Partnership – An equitable balance between the partner organisations including shared agendas, purposes, resources and accountability.


  • Global citizenship – Gaining an understanding of global factors and local issues which are present in all our lives, localities and communities through learning of each other’s position and role in relation to the world in which we live.


  • Personal development – For all participants, the opportunity to work in different ways, to be receptive to new ideas and demonstrate an openness to change.


  • Diversity and equity – Ability to be included in the programme irrespective of background or resources.


  • Sustainability – Having a long-term impact upon communities and institutions overseas and in the UK and to develop sustainable networks.


IDEALS Professional


Objective - To provide professional development opportunities to sports professionals to broaden their experiences, extend their global awareness and enhance leadership capacity.


IDEALS Professional has been developed to offer British sport development practitioners a chance to broaden their professional experience, increase their global awareness and enhance their leadership skills while helping to build the capacity of local NGBs, sports governing bodies and organisations involved in sport.


Based on their skills, background and experience, professionals work in country with a variety of partners across the sporting landscape. For example, they may be matched with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) delivering sport development, or placed directly with the relevant NGBs supporting coaching, administration and broad sport development roles.

Professionals undertake a three to five week placement which is coordinated through the appropriate NGB of sport.

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Partner - UK Sport



Objective - To increase the employability of UK Students and their international counterparts through a peer to peer sport-based programme that develops their sport, leadership and life skills.


International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport (IDEALS) aims to establish a high quality, progressive and coordinated sports leadership development exchange programme for young people aged 20 and above.