How Foundation 92 has helped Aiden take the next steps in his career despite the pandemic…

By his own admission, Aiden was in a difficult position during his education. Mixing in the wrong circles and being involved in anti-social behaviour, he became disengaged within his career. After dropping out of college and with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, his prospects became bleak.

“During COVID, there was absolutely no opportunities for me,” Aiden said. However, after realising his passion lay with sports coaching, he was introduced to the Foundation’s Traineeship Programme – an education course to improve the employability skills of young people throughout Salford and the whole of Greater Manchester. “I got the opportunity here at Foundation 92; I’ve always wanted to work in sport and help people.”

Throughout the 12-week programme, Aiden discovered a newfound passion for youth work and in particular the Foundation’s one-to-one mentoring course for young people living with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). After developing his key skills, Aiden will now be beginning his full-time role as education assistant at Foundation 92, kick-starting his career within the industry.

“The work placements in particular have given me a chance to enhance my skills, such as teamwork and communication. My confidence has shot through the roof and it’s given me the chance to learn new skills and even meet new people, so it’s benefitted me a lot.

“I’ve always wanted to work with and help people through sport, so I feel like I can progress from education assistant to maybe running my own classroom in a few years, so I feel like I’m in a very good position.”

Football Clubs Launch New Programme to Help Young People Find Employment

Six EFL Football Clubs are part of an exciting new programme which will provide 18-24 year olds with the key skills and experience to find employment.

The EFL Trust’s Training Ground programme is part of a new portfollio of programmes supported by with the Youth Futures Foundation. Initially the Community Organisations at six Clubs; Blackpool, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers, Hull City, Oldham Athletic and Bradford City will target young people that are really struggling to get a foothold in the workplace. The initiative is aimed at 18-24 years olds that are furthest from the workplace and will help participants by enabling them to take on new education, employment or training opportunities leading to long term career progression.

Adrian Tallon, EFL Trust’s Head of Education and Employability said. “This is a unique opportunity for young people to overcome barriers and unlock their potential.  They will be supported through our Training Ground programme which takes a holistic approach to employment. The programme provides practical support and training, alongside mentoring and wellbeing activities that will increase the confidence and overall wellbeing of participants.”

The Youth Futures Foundation was established to find, fund, support and evaluate programmes which help young people to move into meaningful work. Unemployment amongst 16-24-year olds is currently four times as high as any other age group; those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds face the biggest challenge in getting a job.

Youth Futures Foundation’s Chief Executive, Anna Smee, commented: ‘We are delighted to support EFL Trust’s Training Ground Programme. Youth Futures Foundation is committed to a society where all young people have equitable access to good quality jobs, by identifying ‘what works’, investing in good practice and initiating new ways of working – to ignite systems change. This partnership will support our ambitions and help to deliver our vision.’

The Training ground programme presents an opportunity to gain accredited skills and qualifications combined with increased personal development, culminating in a  work placement. Additional support will be provided throughout by a dedicated mentor and a targeted health and wellbeing programme. Skills wise the programme will include the development of English & maths functional skills, digital skills, health & safety, money management and customer services. The programme will also include workshops covering personal development areas such as resilience, interpersonal and employability skills as well as improving the participant’s physical and mental health.

One young person who already benefitted from a similar EFL Trust Employability programme is Dominic Thicketts from Blackpool. Before Dom attended the 12 week traineeship programme with Blackpool FC Community Trust, he was unemployed and always at home feeling isolated, lacked confidence and had very low self-esteem. As part of the traineeship he successfully passed Maths, English and First Aid qualifications and undertook a work placement at Tesco. Subsequently Dom successfully gained employment with Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Dom comments, “I’ve never been employed and, so it was a really big step. However, Blackpool helped me with more aspects of my life than I could have actually hoped for, and I want to make them proud with what I’m going to accomplish.”


– ENDS –



Youth Futures Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established with a £90m endowment from the Reclaim Fund to tackle youth unemployment. Our vision is of a society where all young people have equitable access to good quality jobs. We aim to achieve this by identifying ‘what works’ to inform policy and practice, investing in proven approaches and evaluation via our grants programme and initiating new ways of working to ignite systems change. Young people are at the heart of our work with charities, local authorities, social enterprises, employers and government to help those who face the greatest disadvantage and discrimination to access and progress into meaningful work. For more information visit and follow us on Twitter @YF_Foundation


Apprenticeships lead to full time employment during pandemic…

Despite the global pandemic Walsall FC Community Trust have created 6 new jobs from their Apprenticeship Scheme.

Walsall have run a very successful Apprenticeship programme, in its varying guises, since 1989.  Currently 13 of the Trust’s 15 full time staff have come through the apprenticeship programme. This includes the current Community Director Adam Davy and the senior management team.

The latest six additions to Walsall’s apprenticeship production line joined the trust at the start of 2020. 5 of these Apprentice placements focused on the sports coaching aspects of the scheme and the final placement focused on media and marketing.

By the end of March 2020 the government placed the country in lockdown, effectively suspending all delivery of programmes for the scheme.  Undeterred, the management staff and tutors continued to support the Apprentices to complete their studies and all reach successful competition of their courses by August 2020.

Adam Davy, Community Director, said: “Our Apprentices were faced with 6 months of distance learning to complete their courses.  Unfortunately, they missed out on some of the practical experience they should have gained but we were so pleased with them for completing their studies during a difficult time and passing their courses with flying colours.  By September we were starting to return to session delivery and work on our Covid recovery programmes.  One of our proudest achievements of 2020, the most difficult of years, was to be able to employ all of them on full time contracts in September.”

Employing all of the Apprentices as Assistant Community Officers meant that they were fully capable of leading programmes and, along with the other existing full time staff, were able to deliver Covid safe sessions as the scheme was inundated with participants who couldn’t wait to return to our Sport, Education, Health and Engagement sessions.

Sadly, though, the scheme had to halt new Apprenticeship places as the country slowly began to get back to its feet.  This proved, in hindsight, a wise decision as the country entered 2 more Lockdowns during November 2020 and in January 2021.

During the 2 extra lockdowns 2 of the Apprentices moved to employment elsewhere as they adapted to life under Covid restrictions.  The 4 remaining staff each have a unique Apprenticeship story to share:

  • Daniel Jones joined the scheme straight after college, in September 2018, on a 2 year Apprenticeship.  Dan passed his 1st Year with distinction and successfully completed year 2.  He is a valuable asset to the scheme, operating as an Assistant Community Officer and delivering across a variety of projects.
  • Billy Cartwright is a previous participant on the schemes activities during his youth.  After starting a sports degree, Billy soon realised that the classroom based learning wasn’t right for him and looked for a more vocational training programme.  Billy transferred across to the Apprenticeship programme in September 2019 and became a full time employee on completion of his one year course.
  • Reuben Uppal also participated on community scheme activities at Walsall FC when he was younger. Following compulsory education, Reuben went on to complete a sports degree and had a passion for coaching.  He saw the Apprenticeship as an opportunity to gain more practical experience and a foot on the coaching ladder within a professional football club.  Reuben became a full time employee on completion of his one year course.
  • Jake Welch had been volunteering with the scheme since 2017 whilst employed in his family’s business.  Seeking a career change Jake opted to become an Apprentice for a year placement in September 2019.  Although already in his late 20’s, and older than most Apprentices, Jake saw the opportunity for a career change in to a professional football environment.  His hard work paid off when he was employed as Assistant Community Officer for Sport in September 2020.

Looking forward to a return to delivery in Spring 2021…

The Community Trust is currently working on a restart plan for 2021.  As well as looking at how they will safely return to delivery, once restrictions begin to be lifted, it will also be utilising the government Kickstart scheme.  5 new Kickstart roles are in the pipeline with a projected start date of April 2021.  Paul Larvin, Community Manager for Education will lead on the Kickstart programme and hopes that the Kickstarters can progress to become Apprentices in Autumn 2021;

Paul, said: “The Kickstart programme offers unemployed young people between 16 and 24 the opportunity to work within organisations and gain valuable work experience.  We see this as an opportunity to restart our Apprenticeship scheme by offering Kickstart places between Spring and Autumn 2021 with the intention of our Apprentice programme beginning in September or October.  Our aim is to recruit some passionate and enthusiastic Kickstarters and give them the opportunity to access the Modern Apprenticeship places that we plan to advertise later in the year.  It’s a win, win situation and will help to rejuvenate the Apprenticeship programme so that we can continue to offer this excellent provision and asset to the scheme.  As difficult as the last 12 months have been we have continued to look for the positives so that we can continue to support the community that we serve.”


The Joy of Moving Programme launches a virtual ‘Winter Games’

Following a successful virtual Joy of Moving Home School Festival in the summer of 2020 where over 250,000 children got involved, the EFL Trust and Ferrero have launched a new virtual ‘Winter Games’ pack which will help inspire children to get moving in the toughest months for activity levels. Read more

Jack Beetham: My apprenticeship at the EFL Trust has been life changing

‘Build the Future’ was the theme for National Apprenticeship Week last week, encouraging people to consider how apprenticeships help individuals to build the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career.

The Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan opened up the week saying, “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn while you earn, opening up new and exciting career paths that can transform lives.”

This has certainly been the case for me.  Before I started at the EFL Trust in 2018,  I was doing a BTEC in Business Studies at Cardinal Newman College and had no idea what I wanted to do…. I was just living for the weekend. I felt lost and this lead to me going down all the wrong paths in life, I was slowly going off the rails and as a result my mental health was suffering massively.

I had reluctantly applied to University, knowing I wouldn’t have enjoyed it, just because it seemed the ‘normal’ thing to do after college. Thankfully I saw the opportunity at the EFL Trust as Apprentice Administrator and was successful with my application. The Administrator apprenticeship was absolutely perfect for someone who wasn’t quite sure what they wanted to do yet. The role involved such a variety of work across all departments and so I developed a huge range of skills and got a really good understanding of how the organisation works. As my apprenticeship was coming towards an end, an opportunity came up in the Marketing team, as they were looking to take on an apprentice. I had done lots of work for Marketing and I really enjoyed it and so I jumped at the opportunity when it came up!

When I started at the EFL Trust, what stood out straight away was how nice and friendly everyone was, I felt part of the team straight away and this helped me settle into working life perfectly. Going straight into working life in an organisation like this gave me purpose each day and really helped me to establish routine with my life and fitness. This massively helped me with getting my life back on track! Not only did the routine help, but being around such genuine people all day in a professional but friendly environment really helped me mature and grow so much as a person. I really would say my apprenticeship has been life changing. I dread to think what my life could be like now had I carried on living the ‘student life’ over the past few years!

I feel that in school and college young people are pushed towards the standard University route. If anyone is not sure what they would like to do in life, I would urge you to avoid following a set path just for the sake of it and look into an apprenticeship at an organisation like the EFL Trust!

Apprenticeship helps Taryn Find Her Dream Job

For apprentice Taryn Follows, combining her passion for sports and working with children was something she was determined to make possible. Thanks to Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s apprenticeship programme, Taryn, 18, was able to turn her dream into a reality after joining the 18-month programme in September 2019.

The programme aims to provide youngsters aged 16-19 with opportunities to gain valuable experience of coaching in schools and community settings and on reflection she says was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

Speaking during National Apprenticeship Week (8th-12th February), Taryn she said:

“When you leave school you could go straight into work, but I really wanted a practical approach to things. “There are many different pathways to go down but I wanted to continue to learn and get something out of it instead of just going into a job. “I’ve always had a passion for sports and working with children so by putting them together it gave me a dream job. I think my passion and determination to do it were the main reasons I threw myself at it. “Now having been here for 18-months it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my career and as a person too.

“I’m grateful for all the experiences and knowledge I’ve acquired and I can honestly say I’m a better person now than I was when I started. I’ve been able to focus on something that I enjoy whilst learning at the same time and helping other people. I wanted to do it for me but also to help others, to make a positive contribution but also get something out of it myself

“The whole experience has been incredible and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

The programme provides apprentices with the opportunity to work with head coaches from across the Community Trust and something Taryn believes will only benefit her going forward.

“Being on the apprenticeship has allowed me to come to work and enjoy what I’m doing and it’s been incredible to work with so many different people on different projects. You get a new perspective from them all and every session you learn something new and take something out of it whether that’s something from the lesson plan, the method behind it or the actual techniques and skills you’re delivering with. I think the skills I’ve been able to develop during the apprenticeship are priceless and will stay with me for the rest of my life, both on a personal and professional level. I can transfer them and apply them in everything that I do

“It’s been so positive to be able to work with coaches who have been in my position and been an apprentice too. They have been successful in getting full-time jobs with the Community Trust and for me it’s great to take on and adopt some of the ways they deliver. Every coach has a different style and technique when delivering so being with so many people you can pick that up.”

Asked about her aspirations for the future, Taryn hopes to continue her studies and her aspirations to become a full-time sports coach.

“The apprenticeship has enabled me to see things from a whole new perspective and have a better understanding of the careers available in the industry and the pathways I can take to get there. It has helped me to decide that sports coaching is a career I’d like to pursue with. I have an interest in sign language as well which is something I’d like to carry on with and eventually combine the two. I think the next step for me is university and getting a degree which could open up further opportunities in a full-time coaching role. I’m definitely passionate in continuing with sports coaching.

“I’ve loved the whole experience and it’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s had the perfect balance of having your own responsibilities but we’d get help if we needed it. Although this year has been difficult with the pandemic, it has been incredible and what I’ve learnt will stay with me for the rest of my life.”


Will Mellor: The More Practical Way to Get Experience and a Degree

Will Mellor, by his own admission, is not a particularly academic person but he is a great example how there are many routes to qualifications, employment and success.

Leaving school, a university education was not on the cards for Will and he struggled to get that critical first step into employment. A 12 week traineeship with Derby County Community Trust changed that and opened the door to an apprenticeship, which has now lead to him study for a degree with the Rams.

Will first joined Derby County Community Trust (DCCCT) on their traineeship back in February 2018 whilst looking into his first steps following school. Whilst on the traineeship he completed an extensive work placement within the Rams Schools and Coaching department. The experience that the traineeship provided allowed him to discover that he had a real passion for coaching, and that it could form the basis of his future career.

Derby County are one of several EFL Clubs on EFL Trust’s traineeship programme. A traineeship offers youngsters aged 16-23, who are currently not in education or employment the crucial first stepping stone to getting a job. The 12 week courses are week based at professional football clubs. Trainees receive free training in employment skills such as CV writing and interview skills in addition to receiving support on their functional Math and English skills. Crucially they also get the chance to gain valuable work experience in a wide range of industries.

On completing the traineeship, he applied for a Community Coach apprenticeship at the Trust which he went on to succeed in.  In recognition of his progress within his first year, he was awarded Derby County’s Education Champion at their Annual Awards in 2018.

Will then continued to progress through his apprenticeship with Mitre, gaining his academic qualifications along with gaining ‘on the ground’ experience. He completed his FA Level 1 qualification and is well on the way to completing his FA Level 2 too.

He was one of the first learners nationally to complete the new Level 2 Community Activator Coach apprenticeship before being completing the Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sports (Level 3) apprenticeship framework.

As his apprenticeship came to an end in 2020, he began to think about his future as a coach and decided to apply for DCCCT’s Community Coaching and Development Degree in partnership with the University of South Wales.

This course provides further experience, technical knowledge and enhances students’ abilities within coaching.

He started in the 2020/21 cohort last September, and is a vocal, vibrant member of the group, who always has something to contribute.

Jodie Hayes, Education Lead, Derby County Community Trust, comments, “Will is just one of many apprentices who have gone on to continue their educational journeys within Derby County Community Trust.  We currently have two part-time coaches who are in the third year of their degree and two previous apprentices who have completed the degree and moved on to full-time jobs in other industries. The pathway that traineeship to apprenticeship, to degree, can provide, forms a solid base from which our learners go on to succeed, in the sports industry and beyond.”

The Traineeship was a ‘Game Changer’ for Me

“My confidence was at a real low and I found going out an experience that made me really anxious” says Jacob Fahy.

However, looking at the confident young Plymouth Argyle Apprentice Community Coach now, that statement seems hard to believe.

Jacob credits a 12 week traineeship with Argyle Community Trust as the being the turning point in his life. He describes the Traineeship course as “a game changer for me – it helped me work out what I wanted to do and rebuild my life. The course was an amazing experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

Plymouth Argyle are one of several EFL Clubs on EFL Trust’s traineeship programme. A traineeship offers youngsters aged 16-23, who are currently not in education or employment the crucial first stepping stone to getting a job. The 12 week courses are week based at professional football clubs. Trainees receive free training in employment skills such as CV writing and interview skills in addition to receiving support on their functional Math and English skills. Crucially they also get the chance to gain valuable work experience in a wide range of industries.

Prior to starting  the Traineeship programme, Jacob had been out of education and employment for over 2.5 years. Jacob is very open and honest in describing his journey from this starting point, highlighting that “my confidence was at a real low, so meeting the tutor for the first meeting was a real challenge.” After scheduling a meeting in the relaxed surroundings of a local coffee shop with a referral partner that Jacob was working with (and after much discussion about Jacob’s favourite football team Liverpool’s title chances), Jacob had decided he would like to step out of his comfort zone and join the programme.

Throughout the course, Jacob opted to complete his work experience in coaching children. This was something that he excelled in and thoroughly enjoyed, so much so he knew that this was what he wanted to do in the future.

He says “Prior to the course, I was not sure what I wanted to do and lacked any real career focus or motivation. Working with children through my work placement though was amazing and helped me to realise what I was passionate about!”

Jacob successfully completed the course and then sought to progress onto an apprenticeship, applying for a vacancy at Plymouth Argyle Football in the Community Trust. Jacob’s charisma and new found confidence were pivotal in him securing the role, to Jacob’s delight!

Jacob is now undertaking the Level 2 Community Activator Coach apprenticeship standard. The apprenticeship looks to support those aspiring to follow a career in the sport or education sectors, through working with children across both school and community sports contexts.

Part of Jacobs’s role has afforded him the opportunity to become involved in supporting key workers and vulnerable children at St. Catherine’s Primary School in Launceston, Cornwall, during the current national lock down restrictions.

Jacob describes this experience as being “absolutely incredible, allowing me to build some amazing relationships with pupils and staff, whilst also being able to support them in getting active and staying healthy.


Dan Shurmer, Plymouth Argyle Football in the Community Trust Training and Skill Manager comments, “We are extremely proud of Jacob’s progress and very much look forward to supporting his professional development through this exciting apprenticeship pathway.”

Find out more about our traineeships