Emily Price: “The traineeship at Wigan Athletic Community Trust is one of the best things I’ve ever done”

The traineeship programme – aimed at 16-24 year olds – is designed to enhance the skills and experiences of unemployed young people, making them better prepared for further education and employment.

Thousands of young people, including Emily Price, have got their careers off to a flying start thanks to the traineeship programme.

Since completing the traineeship in summer 2018 with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Emily started an 18-month apprenticeship with the Club.

Emily, who is a keen coach, with a huge passion for sport, helped deliver PE lessons in local primary schools as a part of the traineeship and states that this has been a ‘vital’ part of her development.

She said: “I’ve had a huge passion for sport since I was a little girl. I knew I really wanted to get into coaching, so to be given the opportunity by Latics was a real honour for me.

 “I was a little worried about it all at first though because I’d never really coached much before, but the more I got involved in activities the more comfortable I got.

“The traineeship is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It helped me to develop my confidence skills, and just being able to shadow the coaches and work with children from different backgrounds, allowed me to pick up new skills and learn ways to adapt to different sessions, which was vital.”

A traineeship also offers opportunities in fields such as business administration, media and hospitality, and includes Maths and English functional skills, access to qualifications, job application support, Club kit and bursaries.

“I met some great people on the traineeship and it’s not all about sport because you can go down so many different paths, which makes the programme an appealing one.

“If it wasn’t for the traineeship I’d probably still be trying to find my way into the sports industry, so I’d definitely recommend it because it brought me a lot of pride.”

Upon completing the traineeship, Emily successfully gained a place on the Trust’s apprenticeship scheme in September 2018, joining five other young people on the project.

“I knew I wanted to continue with my studies so I thought the apprenticeship would be an ideal thing for me to apply for.

“I’ve loved every minute of it so far and enjoy visiting schools and working with children.

“I’m ambitious so when I finish my apprenticeship I’d like to study a USW sports degree (University of South Wales), but my long-term aim is to one day get a UEFA Pro Licence, I really want that.”

Last year, Wigan Athletic were named North West EFL Community Club of the Year and were recognised alongside five other regional winners at Parliament for their outstanding work in the community.

Emily was chosen to represent the Latics as a part of the event and showcased her fantastic story. Talking about the award and being involved in the event, she said:

“Wigan Athletic Community Trust provides so much to the community. I’m so inspired to be a part of it because of the positive impact it has on so many local people.

“We are all very proud and overwhelmed that the hard work has been recognised with this award.”

To find out more about traineeships visit: https://www.efltrust.com/projects/traineeships/

FIT PILGRIMS meet their ambassador Joel Grant


Plymouth Argyle midfielder Joel Grant has been named ambassador for new well-being programme FIT PILGRIMS and went to meet the first cohort of people taking part.

Argyle Community Trust and the Plymouth Argyle Football Club are helping fans to tackle their weight, get healthier and be happier by joining FIT FANS, a free 12-week programme at Home Park.

Launched in January at 30 Clubs in England, the EFL Trust’s FIT FANS programme will be supported by over £2.25 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England and will aim to use the magnetism of football to tackle obesity levels in over 10,000 fans across the UK.

To help inspire the first wave of participants, newly announced ambassador Joel Grant attended the second session to help answer any questions about health, fitness and nutrition.

The 32 year old is proud to not only support the programme but happy to get hands on with the sessions, he said: “I intend to get as involved as possible by coming to sessions and working with people on the goals they want to achieve.

“I started working with the Trust on many of the health and well being campaigns because it’s a great passion of mine and I’ve had personal experience of coming back from injury and how it affected my mental health as well as physical and I hope that I can offer valuable support to those involved.”

A vocal and confident ambassador for school and health & wellbeing programmes, Joel is using the experience of his own challenges to relate to people who feel disengaged and work with them to inspire and motivate them to participate and even achieve more than they expect.

He admitted that this work helped him as much as it helped others, keeping him focused and seeing how little changes can make a big difference: “The whole process of coming back from injury and being involved with FIT FANS and coming along to community events has inspired me to do more and I offer support via my social media platforms to try and talk to more people about healthy living and the pathways available with the Trust.”

36.4 million people (61.4% of England’s population) live within 10 miles of an EFL ground, with four in 10 residents within this catchment area falling into the most-deprived population groups.

Sport England has identified lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes and that is why they have joined forces with the EFL Trust network to help people create a long-term healthy and active lifestyle.

FIT FANS is one of several initiatives to tackle lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes, which is one of Sport England’s key priorities.

“We are delighted to host the 12-week programme at Home Park and in partnership between the club, Argyle Community Trust and the EFL Trust,” said Mark Lovell, Head of Argyle Community Trust.

“FIT FANS is a superb initiative to get people moving and active. The health and well being benefits that come from regular physical exercise makes a genuine difference to people’s lives, and we look forward to welcoming the Green Army and our community on to this free programme.

Health and Disability Officer, Emma Potter added: “We are delighted to have Joel as our FIT FAN ambassador,  Joel is really passionate about making positive changes to benefit people’s health so to have him on board our programme is a huge bonus, it will hopefully motivate and inspire our participants and fans that little bit more to have Joel to look up to as a role model.”

For more details, please contact our Health and Disability Officer Emma Potter on emma.potter@pafc.co.uk 

World Cancer Day 2020: Michael’s Recovery Story

Derby County Community Trust’s cancer exercise and rehabilitation programme, Active Recovery, has provided a wealth of fantastic recovery stories and created a valuable network to all its participants over the last two and a half years.

Michael’s story is one that means a lot to the Trust as he is relatively new to the programme, joining in Autumn 2019, and has already found it a huge support mechanism after the loss of his wife to cancer and his own diagnosis earlier in 2019.

Having already been diagnosed with prostate cancer himself, his wife’s diagnosis came as a shock following a short illness on holiday which turned out to be pancreatic cancer which doctors believed she may have had for some time. He was due to start therapy with his wife but she sadly passed away before they were both able to start treatment.

Michael became reclusive and found it difficult to preoccupy his time after 50 years of marriage and despite his own treatment going well, he was finding little to be positive about after such a tragic event in his life.

In September 2019 he was given an information leaflet by his GP about Active Recovery.

He got in contact with the Trust and spoke to Health Team Leader Steph Thompson who reassured Michael about the fitness classes and friendly staff as he was hesitant about joining. After he attended his first class he has quickly made himself a regular, attending three sessions a week along with the weekly social Coffee Morning where he treats other participants to his homemade cakes.

Michael was full of praise for the programme, saying: “All the staff are so friendly. They’ve helped me with my previous injuries from a horse-riding accident and even made me a personalised exercise plan for the gym.

“I don’t know what I’d do – or would have done – without Active Recovery and the team.

“It’s given me a new lease of life and has motivated me to start other things in life like joining a choir.

“I look forward to every class and seeing all the people. I’ve now finished treatment and I feel great.

I can’t praise the hospital, the Trust and Active Recovery enough for helping me during such a difficult time in my life.”

World Cancer Day 2020: Tranmere Rovers players visit local cancer charity Maggie’s Cancer Centre

Tranmere Rovers Football Club are supporting World Cancer Day 2020 and the work that Maggie’s Cancer Centre on the Wirral, does for the local community.

World Cancer Day 2020 is held on Tuesday 4th February this year, and it aims to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services and raise awareness around the globe.

And the charity is celebrating its 20th anniversary, having helped millions of people around the world over the past two decades.

Maggie’s is a registered charity with 20 centres throughout England and Scotland, providing free practical, emotional and social support to those living with cancer, and their family and friends.

Located in NHS Hospitals, Maggie’s centres operate support to people who need it, where patients can talk to one another about their different experiences.

The first Maggie’s centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996, and it was announced that a centre would be located at Clatterbridge on the Wirral in 2018.

Recently, TRFC players Carl Spellman, Bailey Thompson and Bayleigh Passant visited Maggie’s at Clatterbridge to speak to patients, relatives and staff.

Sasha Mathias from Maggie’s Cancer Centre said: “We’re a drop-in service so people can come when they feel and when they are ready, not when they are told to.

“We offer free social, practical and emotional support to anyone who has been affected by cancer, so it’s not just the person with the diagnosis, it’s their friends and family as well.

“At Maggie’s we have qualified professionals on hand to give immediate advice and support. We get people coming through these doors in emotional turmoil after a diagnosis but to come to a place like Maggie’s where people can feel warm and welcome, and able to seek that expert advice, it is vital for anyone living with cancer.”

Maggie’s staff and patients came along to Rovers’ Campus training ground not long ago to meet manager Micky Mellon and the first-team.

The whole squad have also worn shirts in support of the local charity during their training sessions at The Campus.

Tranmere Rovers Football Club are proud to support Maggie’s Cancer Charity.

To find out more about Maggie’s and the work that they do, please CLICK HERE.

For more information on World Cancer Day 2020, please CLICK HERE.


Natalie: “Match Fit was the best thing I ever did, I now have a full-time role and can actually go on holidays with my son!”

  • Natalie moved to Blackpool 5 years ago as a single mother
  • She struggled to find full-time work because of her criminal record
  • After job searching for months, she came across the Match Fit Traineeship at Blackpool FC Community Trust
  • The programme helped her get employed as a full-time cleaner and massively improved her confidence

Natalie McDonagh, a 27 year-old from Scotland, struggled to find employment due to her criminal record, but after completing a Match Fit Traineeship at Blackpool FC Community Trust, she landed a full-time position.

Blackpool FC Community Trust are one of eight EFL Club Community Organisations (CCOs) who run a Match Fit Traineeship in the country, with their first pilot solely aimed at females due to the high number of unemployed females in the 25+ age bracket in Blackpool.

A Match Fit Traineeship programme provides opportunities for unemployed people over 25 to gain valuable experience in a particular work environment while also developing functional skills such as Maths and English, enhancing their employability competencies.

The programme marries up with the DWP’s agenda and broader client group, offering support for the older unemployed, single parents, and clients with a range of barriers and challenges, such as mental health, social isolation, and physical disabilities.

After moving to Blackpool five years ago from Scotland with her son, Natalie struggled to find employment due to her criminal record.

She received a call from the Job Centre about Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Match Fit programme and took on the opportunity to improve her employability chances.

She said: “Before the Traineeship I was out looking for work, handing out my CV and attending appointments. I really wanted to prove myself and have a fresh start, but I just wasn’t getting anywhere because I had a criminal record.

“I received a call about the Match Fit Traineeship and it was the best decision I ever made, taking it on.”

After completing the course and passing her Maths and English exams, Natalie landed a full-time role as a cleaner.

Three months later, she is excelling in her role and credits the programme for the many benefits it has given her, including helping her to develop her self-confidence.

She added: “Before the Traineeship, my confidence was really low. I was so shy and scared communicating with other people as I was always used to being on my own, but the course helped me build my confidence and find the courage to push myself.

“I’m really enjoying my role and all the things that full-time work can give me. Honestly I don’t know where I’d be, or what I would have done without the programme in helping me get here.

“Now I have a full-time role I can do things I’ve always wanted like go on holidays with my son!

“My piece of advice would be that if you really want something, you have to stick at it and never give up. I’d highly recommend the Traineeship programme because if you work hard enough there really is a reward at the end of it.

“People say they can see a big difference in me now, saying that I seem so much happier and smiling more and that I’m different to how I was a year ago.

“There’s no point saying you can’t do something, because you can.”



Michael: “I am a different person now after NCS.”


Barnsley lad, Michael Worsley aged 17, was initially sceptical of the youth programme NCS. Little did he know that the 4 week programme was to change his life.

When Reds in the Community (Barnsley Football Club) visited Michael’s school to tell them about the opportunity of NCS, Michael wasn’t sold on (in his own words), ‘the whole NCS thing’. However his friends were convinced and shortly after he booked his place on the 4 week summer programme with Reds in the Community, he was surprised by the positive impact NCS had on his life.

NCS provides young people aged 16-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, and make long-lasting friendships and support young people’s transition to adulthood.

Read Michael’s experience of NCS in his own words;

“I’m not afraid to admit that at first I wasn’t completely sold on the whole ‘NCS’ thing. When some random people from Barnsley Football Club came to my school ranting and raving about some government scheme that you’ve never heard of that will allegedly ‘change your life’, you can’t help but be sceptical.

“To then be told it only costs £50 for the equivalent of thousands of pounds worth of activities, it sounded way too good to be true. Unfortunately at the time, my friends were convinced and I was soon convinced into signing up.”

“Now after almost 4 weeks and nearing the end of my time on the NCS programme, I can’t help but look back fondly at how foolish I was. My life has completely changed. I am a different person now. It’s an impossible feeling to truly communicate without having experienced it first-hand, but what I can say is you will feel fundamentally different in the best way possible.

“After spending the first week challenging myself and doing things I wasn’t really comfortable doing, I couldn’t help being anything other than proud of myself afterwards. I already felt different.

“When the second week rolled around, all too quickly might I add, I thought I’d ace it. I’m a pragmatist and wholeheartedly believed I would effortlessly transition into the ‘real world ‘ when the time came to leave school and ‘grow up ‘ (whatever that means). I thought 5 days of living in the halls of residence for the first time would be so unbelievably easy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. But, NCS has helped me realise that about myself and shown me that I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m ready to take the newly revealed and shockingly large leap over a chasm filled with ‘grown up problems’.

“The 3rd and 4th weeks of planning and executing our social action brought along a whole new host of problems and shocking realisations, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

“Turns out that volunteering at an Extra Care Apartment Complex (old people’s home) is harder than it sounds but like I already said I wouldn’t change a thing.

“I haven’t even spoken about the extraordinary people that I’ve met so far… true friends that I’m already closer to after 4 weeks than people I’ve known for 4 years.

“I now have amazing unforgettable memories that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.”

Barnsley Football Club are one of 42 EFL and Premier Clubs to celebrate the impact young people are making on NCS through the campaign #NCSMatchday. In 2019, young people from EFL Trust’s (Charity Arm of EFL) network delivered over 650 Social Action Projects, volunteered over 260,000 hours of social action and raised over £230,000 for local charities and causes that shines the light on the impact young people on NCS have had in their local community.

National Apprenticeship Week: First five Wycombe Wanderers apprentices reaping considerable rewards

Today, Monday 3rd February 2020, marks the beginning of the 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week.

Apprenticeships are employability programmes that allow individuals to gain industry recognised qualifications at the same time as gaining valuable workplace experience, and are offered at different levels, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) all the way up to Level 7 (Master’s Degree equivalent).

The purpose of National Apprenticeship Week is to recognise, applaud and celebrate apprenticeship success stories from across the country, and for organisations that employ apprentices to promote the huge benefits they bring to the workforce across all different industries.

Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust (WWSET), the official charity of Wycombe Wanderers FC, are relative newcomers to employing apprentices but are certainly reaping considerable rewards since their first five began back in September 2019.

It was actually off the back of National Apprenticeship Week 2019 that their awareness about the benefits of offering apprenticeships was raised and WWSET quickly realised that they could be perfect for the charity, as explained by Head of WWSET Paul Foley:

“During National Apprenticeship Week 2019 I happened to read an article on the EFL Trust (the charitable arm of the English Football League) website that was promoting the fantastic apprenticeship programme being offered by Walsall  FC’s Community Programme. After a bit of research I was convinced that not only could apprentices assist us with our staffing needs, but more importantly we could offer local young people a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience that would provide them with strong foundations to go on and build a career in the community sport and development sector.”

WWSET subsequently decided to recruit two ‘Level 2 Community Activator Coach’ apprentices along with one ‘Level 3 Community Sport & Health Officer’ apprentice, working in partnership with Sport Structures (https://www.sportstructures.com/), a national sports consultancy and education organisation who specialise in developing people and organisations in sport, to advertise the new roles.

Such was the number and quality of applications received, following the interview process WWSET offered posts to a total of five applicants:

  • Toby Macmichael, Will Stratford, Jack Fowler (Level 2 Community Activator Coach apprentices)
  • Georgia Grou (Level 3 Community Sport and Health Officer apprentice)
  • Jason Carr (Level 3 Supporting Physical Education and School Sport apprentice)

Over the past five months each of the apprentices have become highly valued members of the WWSET team. They all settled into post extremely well, immediately establishing strong working relationships with their new colleagues and perhaps most critically, have shown a continued willingness and desire to immerse themselves in both their academic studies as well as their more practical work based tasks.

Kirk Williams, WWSET’s Head of Sports Participation, manages four of the five apprentices and had this to say about them:

“The apprentices have been a great addition to Wycombe Wanderers SET in our quest to grow and develop our workforce. We now have more “feet on the ground” in our local community and have been able to engage with more participants on a daily basis. Their enthusiasm to learn and develop their knowledge and experience has been excellent and that can be seen within the sessions they are now confidently delivering regularly within our programmes.”

WWSET’s Head of Health Sam Parker had this to say about Georgia Grou, who she line manages on a daily basis:

“I have found the apprenticeship process really positive; we have gained an extremely valuable member of staff who is willing to learn and passionate about what she is doing! Georgia has settled in really well and it has been a pleasure managing her and helping her gain confidence in herself and her future career.”

Georgia herself had this to say about her apprenticeship so far:

“Before my apprenticeship I spent two years at university, but realised this was not the right path for me as I am more of a practical rather than academic learner. Since being with WWSET I have learnt a range of new skills that I am able to apply to different areas of my job, all of which will help me get closer to reaching my future career aspirations. I most enjoy all of the hands on, practical sessions I have been involved in, as well as being part of an incredibly supportive team who are all ready to help me learn.  I would recommend apprenticeships as I have achieved so much with WWSET in the 5 months I have been with them, and see them as a great opportunity to grow yourself in a working environment.”

Fellow apprentice Jack Fowler said the following about his apprenticeship to date:

“During my time with WWSET I’ve picked up a variety of skills that I can use within the work place, and out of it. I’ve learnt that organisation is key to being successful, and in addition to this that successful communication makes the team work better.

With WWSET the best part is working with the other members of staff; they are all kind but also super supportive in every aspect of work.

Before this opportunity I was at college studying Level 3 TV & Film. I was quite shy, however now I feel confident and that’s all because of the wonderful support of the trust.

I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to someone who’s looking to get involved in their chosen industry. It’s something that has really helped my development.”

In addition, Jason Carr said of his apprenticeship experience:

“As part of my apprenticeship I really enjoy being able to deliver school PE sessions, after-school clubs, and sessions within WWSET’s Elite Development Academy. I also enjoy being part of the team and working with different coaches.

During my apprenticeship I’ve learnt new ways to deal with behaviour management and combating any issues in that area, as well as new ways of improving my sessions by using ideas and methods that can be implemented in multiple situations when coaching.

The apprenticeship has given me a real taste for the job that I want to do long-term and given me even more hunger to succeed at the highest possible level. Therefore I’m looking at progressing up the coaching qualification ladder with the UEFA-B next in line.

Based on my experiences so far I would recommend an apprenticeship such as mine if you want to develop your coaching skills and increase your confidence in a leading and supporting coaching role.”

For further information on apprenticeships with WWSET visit: www.wwset.co.uk.