Ex-Stockport County YT James Stanton knows all too well that planning your future outside of the game is something most footballers take for granted. Progression 08 will provide the opportunity for apprentices and ex-professionals from across the sporting world to think about the future and make those plans.
James left Stockport County in 2002 and on his release was fortunate enough to gain employment with FFE & VTS Ltd (FFE & VTS Ltd was the organisation from which LFE and Premier League Learning have evolved.)
Still only 18, he quickly realised that he needed to re-train and decided to enrol on AS-Level qualifications in Biology and PE in order to secure access to the PFA funded BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy at Salford University.
On obtaining appropriate grades from his AS-Levels he enrolled for the Physiotherapy degree in 2003 and studied for this qualification alongside other current/ex professional footballers, initially balancing a full time working life as an administration officer for FFE & VTS Ltd with the demands of undergraduate study.
“When I left County I was uncertain about which direction I wanted to move in. Fortunately I fell on my feet with a job at FFE & VTS Ltd and when I had decided which direction to go in, The PFA were on hand with a link into a university that could accommodate me and offered the right course.”
James left FFE & VTS Ltd in 2004 after it’s disbandment but worked occasionally for LFE in the interim period alongside work for Stockport NHS trust as a Physiotherapy assistant on the Orthopaedic wards. This provided him with empirical knowledge that complimented the theoretical aspects of his degree course.
“The course itself was a real eye opener and it’s not an easy route moving back in to education. The course covered areas such as clinical skills of assessment, analysis, facilitation and restoration of movement, the neuro-musculoskeletal and cardio-respiratory systems, musculoskeletal injuries, therapeutic techniques, exercise rehabilitation skills and complex rehabilitation needs.”
Having graduated in the summer of 2007 James is now a fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist and is currently working for Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale PCT in the NHS. He is thankful for the support that The PFA have offered him but would encourage young players to think about their future careers during their Apprenticeship and have a back up plan ready just in case:
“Education has been my fall back option, on reflection going into the game as a 16 year old I’d not thought beyond playing for Stockport County. I thought that I could make a living from the game but in hindsight it would’ve probably been wise to review my future options throughout my time as an Apprentice. I think LFE’s Progression 08 event addresses the issues around exiting the game and fills this void in football.”