The Apprentice: You’re hired

When Shazil Butt joined the successful Easton Street Project in Bristol aged 13, his passion for cricket was clear but he hadn’t thought too much about his future. Coach Masoor Khan however, had spotted his potential from an early stage: “What stood out was that he was a genuine guy. He always put other kids first, he’s always the most polite in the room. We saw something in him that I think were the characteristics to make a really good coach.”

But it wasn’t necessarily a route that Shazil himself was interested in. Having just finished an engineering lesson in sixth form, he received a phone call from Masoor offering him an apprenticeship with the Gloucestershire Cricket Board. Unsure of what he wanted to do, Shazil turned down the offer but he continued to play at his local Street project.

In the following year, Shazil went through a difficult period, losing a close family member, and it left him reconsidering his future. Just after leaving sixth form, Gloucestershire came calling again to offer him the post and this time he accepted. Shazil started his apprenticeship in October 2020 and he has been delivering Chance to Shine sessions in schools, as well as working alongside Masoor at the Easton project where he used to play. He’s loving the experience: “[The coaching has] been good, it’s strange to me that some kids have never heard of cricket before!”

Shazil is hoping to support the young people he works with to build a positive future for themselves: “You try to inspire them and even if it’s not cricket, just giving them the confidence that they can do anything they want. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Cricket has supported Shazil to develop and to grow within his personal life and, despite his initial uncertainty, it’s now giving him a platform for his working life.

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