February is the start of a period when decisions are made on a young player’s future. One of the roles that the Education and Welfare department plays is to provide all our players with the care and support to guide them through this important time.
As a player moves into the Professional Development Phase a greater educational emphasis is placed on planning for life ahead, whether this be in the football industry or beyond.
The primary conduit for career education is the NVQ programme which is undertaken by all scholars as part of their apprenticeship. The National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is designed to support a young player’s Academy journey and comprises of various tasks which promote reflection on all aspects of their career; this includes lifestyle, diet, training and performance. The scholars will also receive presentations delivered by external agencies such as the PFA (information on career support), Sporting Chance (what support the clinic offers to players) and the Internet Watch Foundation.
Our young players are encouraged to develop an identity other than that of a footballer player and they all take part in dual/alternative career workshops and presentations. This includes presentations from industries outside of football, industry visits, CV writing workshops (footballer/non-footballer) and university tours.
An example of this would be the recent trip to the Airbus factory in North Wales which gave the scholars an opportunity to experience first-hand how the organisation functions and an insight into the careers available to them within the industry.
The career support given to our players also underpins the exit process which begins when a player’s time at the Academy ends. Upon leaving the Academy, a player is allocated an Exit Coordinator who is responsible for supporting the player through and beyond the exit process from the Academy.
This will include weekly meetings to record football trials attended, planning for work experience and advice on actions required for any areas of career interest.
The career support within the Academy is something which is continually being revised and developed.