Worcestershire Cricket (WC) are playing a major role in coaching youngsters and attempting to encourage non-cricketers to take up other key roles in the game such as umpiring and scoring.

WC, whose office is based in The View at New Road, coached 7,000 children in 2014 alone in the Worcestershire and Dudley spanning 177 schools and it will be a similar story during this year.

But of equal importance are the programmes run by WC – chiefly in secondary schools – to encourage youngsters to take up the many positions in club cricket that rely on volunteers via a series of workshops.

In effect the aim of the project by WC is to "offer a cricket option to non cricketers" but also to help youngsters gain experience which may eventually aid their employment prospects.

Worcestershire Cricket Participation Manager, Andy Wheeler, said: "Through my role we cover schools cricket so we went and delivered in 177 schools last year, that is delivery of cricket but also our volunteering programme and competition entry as well.

"It is about going into the school and doing coaching. We coached around 7,000 boys and girls last year.

"That is delivery of cricket but we also run a volunteer programme. We have created our own six 30 minute workshops that we deliver in secondary schools mainly.

"They cover umpiring, scoring, ground work, leadership, stewarding and competition organising.

"We stand in front of secondary school kids and say this is an introduction….it is basically offering a cricket option to non cricketers.

"It is saying them 'there are opportunities to go and do volunteering in cricket, you don't have to play.'

"There are so many opportunities in cricket that people don't necessarily see because when they think of cricket, they think of playing it which is the natural reaction.

"But there are so many opportunities and in the workplace at the moment everyone needs experience to get a job. The young people coming out of college and university aren't being looked at because they haven't got the experience.

"Volunteering is a fantastic way of getting that experience so we are trying to offer these employability opportunities for students so they can just have a bit more experience on their CV.

"We will do the course at school, do the 30 minute introduction. There were about 500 children we took through the process last year. They came to one of our sessions at the school and from there we give them exit routes.

"We tell them where the local clubs are, local opportunities are, other courses, so they can go onto umpiring, scoring, if they show the interest after the 30 minute introduction."

Wheeler added: "The idea is that a youngster goes to the club, gets involved there and becomes a life-long volunteer.

"Clubs say to us that volunteers are getting older so if we can fill that gap underneath and get the next generation of volunteers, then we are helping club cricket, for umpiring, scoring, your tea staff, groundstaff, treasurers, working the scoreboard, social media secretaries, all the different jobs.

"There are many jobs in cricket where you don't have to understand cricket. "

Worcestershire Cricket also help to organise cricket competitions which schools across the county can participate in.

Wheeler said: "Competition-wise, we are running 26 competitions this year for schools ranging from Under-9s through to Sixth Form. Different schools across the county enter the local tournaments and then qualify for the county finals.

"We had a slight increase in the number of schools last year and we've had an increase in our indoor competitions this year.

"More and more schools are entering the competions. The political mindset of schools is that they should be doing a little bit more competition which is right because kids do want to compete.

"Parents trying to protect children by saying we won't keep the score or we won't have competition whereaskids actually love competition.

"If you put a group of kids in a room, they will come up with competitions or challenges. We are seeing the interest in schools competitions which is great."

*We will be featuring other facets of Worcestershire Cricket on the Worcestershire CCC website in the forthcoming days.