The sixth annual Apprenticeship Week got underway this week with apprentices, employers, providers and all those involved with Apprenticeship programmes coming together to celebrate their value and importance. The week, which is organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals and businesses.
Funded by the Skills Funding Agency, League Football Education (LFE) was established by The Football League and The Professional Footballers’ Association in 2004 to manage The Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme across Football League clubs. Now almost ten years on, LFE, graded as ‘Outstanding’ across all areas of its provision by Ofsted last April and the AASE programme continue to go from strength to strength and be an exemplar of this year’s over-arching theme, that ‘Apprenticeships Deliver’.
Hundreds of those that have completed the programme now regularly compete in The Football League or Premier League and while the initiative is designed to support young players in their football development it also provides them with qualifications and transferable skills that will assist them within football, or as and when they move on to alternative careers.
Recent graduates of the scheme include Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) Nick Powell (Crewe Alexandra now Manchester United), Gael Bigirimana (Coventry City now Newcastle United), Carl Jenkinson (Charlton Athletic now Arsenal) and of course our own talent – Joe Thompson, Reece Gray and Sam Minihan to name but three from recent times.
Other graduates have gone on to pursue university educations in subjects including biology and physics, while some move into employment in careers such as Physiotherapy, the Fire Service and the Armed Forces but whatever route they take the Apprenticeship they have followed provides them with skills for life.
Throughout Apprenticeship Week, events and awareness raising activities are going to roll-out across the country, so if you are interested as either an employer or parent of a potential Apprentice then please visit www.apprentices.org.uk.
If you would like to know more about the work of the LFE, or to keep up to date with information regarding Football Apprentices at Football League clubs please visit www.lfe.org.uk