Up to 24 school leavers will be able to carry on with their studies by enrolling on a pioneering education initiative in Kent enabling aspiring young footballers to continue their studies when they leave school.
North West Kent College, in association with local football club Dartford FC, created the initiative to cater for students with varying academic qualifications.
A sports management company has been signed up to help launch a two-year programme centred on the BTEC Introductory Certificate in Sport and Leisure, the C&G NVQ Teaching and Coaching, and the BTEC First Diploma in Sport courses, all of these courses to be run at the College from September.
Enrolling on one of the courses students will develop football skills, with the ultimate aim of breaking into the first team at Ryman League side Dartford.
Students will receive nine hours professional football coaching and theory each week working towards nationally recognised qualifications, as well as the added incentive of playing competitive fixtures as part of the Dartford Football Club youth set-up.
Students will have the opportunity to progress to higher education, a career in sports coaching or leisure and even the possibility of a professional football contract.
James Huntington, the College’s Head of School for Sports and Public Services, said, “We are delighted to forge strong links with our local football club to devise a programme that presents youngsters with a wonderful opportunity and offers them the best of both worlds ““ a chance to develop their sporting skills whilst also gaining a recognised academic qualification”.
David Skinner, Chairman of Dartford Football Club, said, “We already have a reputation as a community football club, and this scheme can only strengthen our policy of looking for local players to represent their local club”.
A football development centre at West Kent College, Tonbridge, Kent is working in partnership with local sports organisations to develop a comprehensive coaching programme.
Ex-England footballer Gary Stevens, ambassador for the College’s Sports Academy, said, “This is a great opportunity for those working to develop their football and continue with further education at the same time”.TIOB News