Being a Luton Town Apprentice is not just about the football aspect. A lucky few will earn a professional contract but for those that don’t make the grade an environment of life-long learning at Kenilworth Road hopes to prepare the young players for what it is like in the real world of work.
Luton Town Football Club has linked up with First Capital Connect to build and deliver a work experience programme that would achieve this aim.
For a week at a time five players from the Under-17 squad had the opportunity to embark on a week of life in the real world.
Their timetables varied from day to day, on some days they had to start work at 7am up in London while others were more fortunate to start at 9am in the local region.
The youngsters were given their schedule and then had to plan their own route by train to get to the location on time, a valuable life skill.
The jobs they undertook were also varied. Some worked on platforms for a day and learnt how trains are inspected and dispatched, along with the importance of punctuality of the train service. Other roles included working with customer liaison officers, sitting in on station rebuild meetings, working in the revenue offices and auditing on the station where they were based.
Goalkeeper Lewis Kidd said about the experience:
“This was valuable work experience for me, I found it really different from being at a Football Club as I was much less active which I didn’t particularly enjoy, but that was part of the job.”
“As a learning experience it opened my eyes to how some people don’t push themselves to progress and really achieve in their place of work and it has helped me focus on the effort I have to commit to be a success either as a footballer or in the workplace.”
On top of the work experience the boys were required to attend training on the Tuesday and Thursday evenings of that week. The aim behind this was to keep them fit and prepared for the weekends fixture, and secondly give them a true experience of what it is like to be a semi-professional footballer.
Right-back Matt James said about his positive week:
“I met some really nice people whilst out on work experience. It gave me a great insight into the working world on things like shift work and having to work all day long. It has made me grateful for what I have and the chances I have ahead of me at Luton Town.”
“Going training on Tuesday night at Baldock was brilliant, I have never looked forward to training so much, to see the lads, compare stories, have some banter and play football again was a real buzz.”
Martin Prickett, Youth Team Coach added:
“I know I had personal aims for each of the players, for some it was to open their eyes about how fortunate they are to have this opportunity at the Club, whilst for others it was to build their social skills and confidence with new people. Most importantly it was for all the boys to have the opportunity to experience the world of work and also know that if they don’t make it as a footballer, they have the skills to be a success in a new career.”
“Speaking to the boys about their experiences I feel that this has been achieved and has given each of them a taste of the real world. I look forward to rolling out a similar experience for future generations of scholars.”