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Stevenage FC become latest club to sign up to USW Football Foundation Degree

Stevenage FC Foundation have teamed up with the University of South Wales and EFL Trust to launch a brand-new foundation degree for aspiring coaches to study a higher education course whilst gaining practical experience out in the local community.

The Foundation’s two-year Foundation Degree programme is a course designed for individuals wanting to attain a university qualification and are passionate about pursuing a career in the football industry.

Students develop the necessary skills, qualities and characteristics that are required to work within professional football club community departments or national governing bodies.

Delivered in partnership with the University of South Wales, Stevenage FC Foundation become one of over 35 clubs across the country to deliver the course including Shrewsbury Town, Newport County and Sheffield Wednesday.

All lectures, seminars and tutorials are delivered in a supportive and inspirational club environment, based predominantly within your own football club via online material. This is supported with residential stays at the University of South Wales campus in Cardiff where students from all the clubs, come together twice a year.

Alongside the academic element of the course, students will complete up to 200 hours of voluntary coaching within the community, alongside the Foundation staff, allowing the students to embed and develop the coaching techniques learnt within lectures.

Through the Foundation’s partnership with the University of South Wales, all students will be enrolled as a student at the university. Students will be able to access the university’s online library, blackboard and learning materials, providing them with the best possible learning platform to excel within.

Head of Foundation, Joe Goude said, “We are incredibly excited about the being able to bring the USW Foundation Degree to Stevenage. This is something we’ve been working on for nearly a year now and we cannot wait to get started.

“We already have a fantastic apprenticeship pathway in place for further education with Sporting Futures Training and this is the next tier of that pathway that will allow those apprentices to progress to a higher education programme whilst continuing to build on their practical experience out in our community.

“This programme has seen great success elsewhere in the country with some amazing examples of what students have gone on to achieve and the Foundation is looking to replicate that success locally, to create a viable pathway for people to gain new knowledge, but it into practice in the local community and ultimately make themselves more employable.”

Prerequisites to Apply:

  • BTEC Level 3 – MPP. A Level – DD
  • Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Three A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and maths

More details of the course can be found here.

Clubs unite for EFL Day of Action

All 72 EFL clubs and their community trusts will come together on the same day for the EFL’s Day of Action to demonstrate the positive impact football can have in changing young people’s lives.

From Plymouth to Peterborough and Sunderland to Southend, on Tuesday 20th March, EFL clubs across all three divisions will showcase the innovative and ground breaking work they do for young people in tackling some of the biggest issues in society across education, health, community inclusion and participation.

Managers and players from the EFL’s 72 clubs will be attending events up and down the country including projects that target mental health, disability and obesity.

In London, Millwall are running a mental health football tournament being held in memory of one of their players who recently died. Over 100 people are due to take part in the Dwain Inniss Cup with manager Neil Harris on hand to offer his support.

Six first team players from Bristol City will be seeing the innovative work of the club’s Youth Council, a group of young people that are making a big impact in their local area by shaping and delivering Bristol City’s community activities including girls, disability and street football. Whilst neighbours Bristol Rovers are inviting their 16-18 year old disability squad to join the first team for a training session lead by manager Darrell Clarke, followed by lunch with the first team squad.

In Yorkshire, Doncaster Rovers have committed to a whole day of activity, including a special appearance from midfielder Matty Blair, who has fronted the club’s efforts to raise awareness of mental health by drawing on his own personal experiences after the loss of his brother Ross to cancer in August 2017.

In the Midlands, Derby County will be celebrating the success of their cancer recovery programme over the past twelve months, with appearances from former Birmingham City striker Geoff Horsfield and Celtic and Aston Villa midfielder Stylian Petrov, who themselves have been affected by the illness.

There is plenty of activity being held by League Two clubs, with Cambridge United showcasing their Enterprise Project, an innovative new programme designed to help secondary school students develop their entrepreneurial and employability skills. School children in Lincoln will be running the Sport Relief Mile around the pitch at Cecil Park alongside players from the Club to raise money for the charity.

EFL Chairman, Ian Lenagan said:

“Football continues to support its communities seven days a week, 365 days a year through our unique network of Club community trusts.

“Bringing all 72 together on one day for the EFL Day of Action highlights the special role the EFL has in society and our collective ability to make a positive and lasting impact to the lives of millions of people.

“It is fantastic to see so many managers and players across England and Wales coming out in support of the excellent work being undertaken by their own Club right in the heart of their own community.

“There are few sporting organisations that can deliver the scale of innovative and ground breaking activity we do via our network of Clubs across so many important areas, including inclusion, charitable causes, community engagement, education or health.”

EFL Footballers take on NCS Grads

Over the next 2 months, footballers from the EFL will be going toe-to-toe with NCS Graduates to take on the YES/NO game and find out more about NCS.

NCS (National Citizen Service) is a flagship government initiative that has provided 400,000 young people aged 16-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop vital skills that will support them later in life.

The first footballer in the firing line is Rotherham United defender Ben Purrington who met Casey Holmes, a current member of EFL Trust’s Regional Youth board, and NCS Graduate from Rotherham.

Ben said: “It’s been a pleasure to meet Casey and learn more about NCS and her experience. The opportunities that NCS and Rotherham United offer are great for young people and I urge more to get involved.”

Talking about the YES/NO game, Ben continued: “It’s a lot harder than you think, but it was great fun and I did okay!”

The EFL Trust have been delivering the NCS programme since its pilot year in 2011 and now have a network of over 40,000 graduates. Using the power of football, EFL Trust are in a unique position to publicise the work that NCS are doing during the programme and after. Last year, the social media campaign #NCSMatchDay reached over three million people.

On 15th March, NCS Graduate and now professional footballer Louis Jones at Doncaster Rovers will take on fellow NCS Graduate Holly Dennis. To keep up to date, follow #SayYestoNCS.

To get £15* off NCS this Summer, click here.

EXTRA TIME: ‘It takes years off you! I always claim I’m 29. I’m 87 and I love it.’

Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s ‘Extra Time’ programme is offering people over the age of 50 in Shrewsbury a new lease of life, and you have to look no further than participant Alan Bowers to see the impact the sessions are having on those in the community.

Alan, 69, is a season ticket holder at Shrewsbury Town, but also an active member of the Extra Time programme.

Alan has been a regular participant at the club since it started five years ago, and up until recently was also a part of the Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s walking football team.

Extra Time, is aimed at getting those over the age of 50 involved in sporting activities and socialising, with sessions run every Thursday.

It’s not just limited to football, either. Alan and co find themselves doing a range of different activities each week, and whether it’s hockey, rounders, basketball, walking football or ten pin bowling, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into.

Speaking of the programme, Alan said: ”It’s such a good group of people, and they all get on with one another.

”It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, they just get out there, get some air in their lungs and just do something a bit different.”

When asked how much he has gained since joining Extra Time, he added: ”So much. Making friends, keeping healthy, keeping fit. When you retire, you get to a point of, ‘what do I do next?’

”You can’t go to a pub every day, can you?…Well maybe you can!

”But you don’t want to do that, you want to do something different. We want to do visits, we go to the pantomime every year at Theatre Severn and we have  a trip every year.”

Joining Alan at Shrewsbury Powerleague every Thursday is Irene, 87, who has been part of Extra Time for four years.

Like Alan, Irene can’t speak highly enough of the sessions, and the group that she has become so close and friendly with.

”It’s the best club I’ve ever been to, it really is.” Irene said. ”It’s a laugh from the time you go in, to the time you go out, and everybody joins in.

”It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it. I am no good at hitting the ball in rounders, the ball goes the wrong way!

”Everybody cares for one another, it’s great! If anybody is off colour or ill, we’ve got out phone numbers.”

For a healthy and youthful lifestyle, Irene insists Extra Time is the programme for you.

”It takes years off you! I always claim I’m 29! I’m 87 and I love it.

”The laughs you have, and the friends you make…A laugh a day makes all the difference.”

To find our more about Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s Extra Time sessions visit: https://www.shrewsburytowninthecommunity.com/activities/extra-time/

USW: A once reluctant Foundation Degree student speaks of endless opportunities

Chanelle McManus, a USW (University of South Wales) Foundation Degree student at Preston North End, discusses the benefits of the education programme and how it’s opened new opportunities to her.

Known as ‘Nel’, the PNE student is a familiar face when Preston North End are out in the community; she is a regular deliverer of a variety of sessions – to providing national curriculum PE lessons in schools to primary school children, to overseeing walking football sessions to the over 50s, and it’s the natural variation and diversity of the job that saw Nel catch the ‘coaching bug’.

“I originally wasn’t going to carry on with education, just look to work my way through working as a casual coach,” said Nel.

“But having heard about the degree and how different it is to other courses with more practical modules, I decided to put myself forward. I’m obviously reaping the benefits now as I’ll hopefully have an extra qualification whilst doing the work in schools I would have been doing anyway.’’

The Foundation Degree that Nel fulfils, ‘Community Football Coaching and Development’ is delivered alongside the University of South Wales in partnership with the EFL Trust.

On the course, students like Nel are predominantly based at the football club’s facilities but will also attend a yearly residential at USW.

The course focuses on all aspects of children’s and youth coaching, football coaching, football development, social inclusion and sports management skills, allowing the student to study all sub-disciplines of coaching and football development.

The two-year course welcomes those who have completed the Level Three programme, as well as those who studied elsewhere such as a BTEC level three or three A Levels.

“Every day is different,” said Nel on working with the Preston North End Community and Education Trust.

“I’ve just come back from a school now and I had 20 kids in the entire school and I’ve never done that before, and later on I will go into a bigger school with more challenging children – every day is different.

“You can work in all sorts here; I do a nursery on a Wednesday then I’ll do walking football on a Friday so I’m literally involved in everything.

“I’ve always played football; I played for Preston North End WJFC up until open age so I’ve always played but it was when I did my work experience with Mel (Brown, Inclusion Manager) in high school where I got the bug for coaching.

“Now, I actually prefer coaching and developing players then playing it myself and I’ve actually given up playing now to concentrate on coaching as I didn’t have the time to do both.”

Nel’s roots of working in the community stem from working with Mel at an early age, but it was working with the Preston North End Community and Education Trust that saw her find out about the education opportunities that Preston North End provides to post-16 students.

She added: “I’ve enjoyed it after my first year so far. It’s very independent which is what I like as I like to go away and do it all in my own time and base it around my practical work.

“I’d certainly recommend the course but you’ve got to be committed and have a love of football to make the most of it.

“Because the course is independent, it’s easy for students to come onto the course and just not bother and not take the wonderful opportunities on offer, so you have to be committed.

“I make sure I go out of my way to take advantage of all the experience offered here. I do the walking football, I don’t need to do that but I took it upon myself to do that so I think you should just go for it and take advantage of the opportunities available.”

Nel is now looking at progressing from a casual coach into a full-time role at PNE or a similar capacity at another football club, a typical exit route that the degree provides.

“Hopefully there will be an opening here, told Nel – “Just so that I can continue working here, but in a full-time capacity and just keep doing what I’m doing. I love what I’m doing now, but I want to do it full-time eventually.

“I’ve always been a PNE fan so that’s always been a bonus. I’ve been given the opportunity to work match days and I’ve met the players and the manager whilst doing the birthday parties so that’s always a bonus for me.”

To find out more about Preston North End Community and Education Trust visit: https://www.pnefc.net/PNECET/

To find out more about the USW ‘Community Football Coaching and Development’ course visit: http://www.efltrust.com/communityfootballdegree/

NCS: Bringing younger and older generations together

This summer a group of eight young adults on the National Citizen Service (NCS) with Argyle Community Trust, developed a social action project that will leave a positive and everlasting impact on the older generation of their community.

After embarking on a journey of personal development and team based participation, where comfort zones were stretched and friendships flourished, the team of young people based at Carn Brea in Plymouth cultivated an ambition to create a valuable social action project to help the older generation.

They wanted to show that, as younger people, they still value and respect their elders.

The perception that certain older members of the community are forgotten when placed in care homes was the golden thread that brought them together. This collective vision subsequently brought about the initial stages of ‘The Memory Garden Project’. To generate a safe and vibrant place that would bring comfort and joy to residents. A location where family and friends could visit and re-live all those fond and cherished memories.

The team found a very willing and grateful partner in St Martins Care Home in Camborne. This local care home takes immense pride in their work and does an amazing job caring for its residents. However, a communal area situated in the centre of the building, was in need of some TLC. St Martins looks after patients that have Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and this resonated with the team on a personal level.

The team worked incredibly hard raising money in their planning stage and generated a staggering £613. Their aim was to regenerate the communal area and give something back to an establishment that does so much. Although the money raised enabled the team to provide various practical items, such as storage space, seated arbours and decorative hanging baskets, the most significant donation was their determination and hard work.

Craig Tanner, Team Leader said: “It has been a privilege to watch this group of individuals develop and challenge themselves. The change within the team has been truly inspiring.

”They have worked incredibly hard to make this happen and to see their faces on completion was a proud moment. I wish them the best of luck in their future aspirations and can’t wait to see them graduate in October.”

This hard work has also been recognised in Plymouth by the local community and more specifically the local MP. George Eustice visited St Martins to show his appreciation of the brilliant work undertaken. The team radiated with pride and spoke enthusiastically about the work they had done. This was backed up by glorious praise given to the team regularly by both staff and residents at St Martin.

John Bulley St Martins (Cornwall Care) said: “We are so very grateful that the NCS team came around and regenerated one of our Gardens at St Martins Residential Home. It has been a huge relief, and our residents very much appreciate what they have done for them and our staff.

”It was great to see the residents take in what was happening, we at St Martins from Staff to residents and Visitors were overwhelmed by the work ethos from your young people and staff who came here from raising the money to organising the work and behaving like grown-ups, and being 100% professional at all times.”

The team have now completed their National Citizen Service programme and are now moving on to future endeavours. They have developed as people and obtained valuable life skills to take forward that can be applied not only within future education, but also when they venture into employment.

To find out more about NCS visit: www.ncsefltrust.co.uk

Kinder + Sport Move & Learn project shortlisted for FDF Award

The Kinder + Sport Move & Learn project, developed by EFL Trust and Ferrero, has been shortlisted for the ‘Education Initiative Award’ at the Food and Drink Federation Awards 2017.

The activity programme is designed to get children moving by encouraging dynamic play and sports amongst young people and their families, promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

As childhood obesity levels continue to rise across Britain, Ferrero recognised a responsibility to take positive action to promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a balanced diet and active lifestyle amongst children.

After forming a partnership with EFL Trust in 2014, the project has expanded to reach over 54,000 children in the UK and continues to grow.

Accrington Stanley are 1 of 24 EFL clubs who run the project through their Community Trust reaching out to schools across the country.

To read more about the FDF Awards 2017 click here.

FUTSAL AND EDUCATION: ‘From not knowing what to do in life, to representing my country in front of thousands’

EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme scholars, Morgan Pratt and Momodou Touray, are two prime examples of how the course can open the door to life changing pathways and experiences.

After approaching the end of secondary school, both boys were hesitant of what to do next in their lives. Never could they imagine that two years later, they would be playing for their home country in front of thousands of fans.

The boys were chosen to represent Wales at under-18 school boy level and played in international fixtures against England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“I wish I could relive the experience,” said Morgan. “From not knowing what to do with my life two years ago after finishing school, to then singing the Welsh national anthem away in Scotland in front of over a thousand people was unbelievable.”

Momodou commented: “I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Wales team. The atmosphere whilst coming on against Northern Ireland was phenomenal, it will be a moment I will never forget. It brought me to the realisation that this is only the beginning for me.”

The EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme specialises in offering a platform to young people who love sport but aren’t motivated by the classroom environment, presenting a different way to learn and progress in their careers.

Unlike regular college courses, students are able to combine studying sport, gaining qualifications that will enable progression into university, and play football and futsal with regular coaching to develop their technical, tactical and physical ability.

Morgan added: “I was unsure what to do next when I finished school. Then I came across an opportunity to go on the programme. At first I was worried about leaving my comfort zone and leaving my old school and friends – but it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.”

“I’ve always been interested in learning how the body works with nutrition, in different situations of exercise and activity,” Momodou said, “I’m so glad I chose to join the programme as I now realise it has helped me to understand nutritional information as a footballer and the best food and meals appropriate to contain a healthy diet.”

After representing Wales and going into his second year of the programme, Momodou has since signed a two year scholarship with Newport County AFC’s academy team.

He has already been named five times on the substitute bench for the first team, something that Newport County’s Futsal and Education Programme co-coordinator Dave Lewis is proud of.

He said: “It was fantastic to see Momodou offered a two year scholarship with the academy team and I am immensely proud to have played a part in his development.

“Both individuals [Momodou and Morgan] have showed a fantastic attitude towards their studies and consistently performed to an excellent standard during both futsal and football 11v11 games programmes.

“They both had unforgettable and outstanding experiences during their international fixtures which wouldn’t have been made possible if they weren’t part of the programme.”

The two scholars were also keen to encourage others with an interest in studying and playing sport to sign up to the programme.

“Anyone should consider signing up to the programme as it gives you the opportunity to not only study sport and get good qualifications, but also travel to different cities within the UK and play against experienced players,” Momodou said.

“You should sign up to the programme if you want to get a good education behind you,” added Morgan. “It gives you the tools to go to university and you get the chance to play lots of football and futsal which will definitely improve you as a player as the coaching is second to none.”

To find out more information about the EFL Trust Futsal and Education Programme visit: www.efltrust.com/futsal

TRAINEESHIPS: Young people kick start life with Blackpool FC

Young people who have struggled to find employment have been offered a life changing opportunity to turn their lives around, thanks to their local football club.

Blackpool FC Community Trust are one of many EFL club trusts offering youngsters the chance to gain invaluable work experience on the traineeship programme.

The course, aimed at people aged 16-23, has been made to offer those who are currently not in education, employment or training a stepping stone back into further education.

Trainees on the programme get to spend three days a week based at their local professional football club, whilst shadowing experienced members of club staff and community football coaches.

In just 12-16 weeks, students get free training in employment skills including; CV writing and experience, employment opportunities, interview skills, coaching skills resulting in a FA Level 1 qualification, high quality work experience in business administration, hospitality, grounds maintenance, match day, retail and experience of working in the sport and leisure industry.

Connor Snape, aged 18, is currently on work placement with Blackpool FC and has been helping the Seasiders staff to prepare for pre-season and life in League One.

Connor said, “As a massive Blackpool FC fan, I’m delighted to be receiving my work placement at the club. I’m helping out in the kit-room and making sure everything is ready for when the players return for pre-season training.

“This is my second placement as I was at TEE Time Golf Centre last month working with the grounds staff. Both placements have given me key employment skills which will hopefully get me some full-time work.”

Blackpool FC Community Trust also offer a ‘Kickstart’ programme allowing those who successfully complete the traineeships programme the chance to continue their further learning and employment opportunities.

James Hanson, 17, has just finished the Kickstart course and is now working at Ascent Trampoline Park as a court marshal assisting customers.

James thanked Blackpool FC Community Trust for turning his life around. James said, “At 16 I went into the army and I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t know what to do with my life but I enrolled on to Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Traineeship course and learnt important life skills.

“I progressed on to the Kickstart course. It really gave me the boost I needed in life and the Trust set up interviews with different organisations. I’m now working at Ascent Trampoline Park and I’m really enjoying it. Both courses (Traineeship and Kickstart) have changed my life. Thanks to Colin and Rick for their support.”

Geoff Scott, 23, also used the Kickstart programme to gain full time employment. Following the completion of the course, the Trust set up a number of interviews for all Kickstart students. Geoff impressed local shop Co-op during an interview and was hired by them at the end of May.

Geoff is delighted with how the Kickstart got his life back on track after struggling to find full time work. Geoff said, “I’m so pleased to be working full time at Co-op and it wouldn’t have been possible without Blackpool FC Community Trust.

“They taught me key skills which I’ve taken with me into this new job and I’m really enjoying working at Co-op as I’m a big believer in quality of customer service.”

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