Over the past few weeks, LFE have been travelling to meet the Community Trust Study Programme learners and tutors at their respective clubs all across the north west.
The Community Trust Study Programme offers young people the opportunity to study sport-related qualifications, while representing their club at football or futsal. The perfect balance between education and sport.
Learners will take part in an Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funded study programme, improving their knowledge of sport and applying this to the practical element of their programme to improve their technical, tactical and physical ability. Upon completion of the course, learners can progress to university (both in the UK or USA) or full-time employment.
So, what does a day in the life of a CTSP learner look like?
The learners will usually partake in their studies in the morning, with the tutors delivering engaging and fulfilling lessons. After that, the learners are allocated some time to have lunch and relax before training in the afternoon.
The training sessions are delivered by high-quality coaches, with LFE experiencing first hand just how much the learners enjoy the practical side of the course.
We travelled to Accrington Stanley’s Community Trust at Stanley Sports Hub to get a taste of how their learners are finding the programme.
One of the learners Brad, said: “I’ve enjoyed the programme a lot. There’s lots of different elements of the course that I feel that I’ve progressed on that have helped me become more well-rounded.
“It’s at the heart of the community and all the coaches and tutors here are really friendly and I get along with them well.
“I love the training and speaking to other people, we’ve all got a common interest and we get on really well. I’ve come out of my shell a lot more and I’ve learnt not to beat myself up when I make a mistake, both in the classroom and in training. I’ve become a lot more confident.
“If anyone is thinking of going down the same route, the staff are really friendly, the work isn’t boring and you can implement your football into your work and I think that definitely helps.”
Another learner, Jenson, said: “I’m really enjoying it. It was a big change for me at the start, going from the school environment to this, but I’ve really settled.
“Being able to play football, whilst having the opportunity to get your BTEC qualification is great. You get to travel to different places to play other trusts and everything is done in a team environment.
“I’m more confident now, being part of a group. I feel like I’m becoming more of an adult.
“It’s a great way to be part of a team, playing the sport you love and also getting your qualifications that can help take you to your next step.”
Head of Education, Mark Whalley added: “The programme gives them (the learners) a good insight into potential pathways and careers in sport. Traditionally, people think it’s just about coaching and playing, but the different types of units that we deliver gives the learners a bit more insight into other areas of sport.
“I’d like to think we do a good job at preparing them for their next step. Not everyone will go to university, however the course itself is the equivalent of A-levels, so it gives them the opportunity to get the academic qualifications behind them to progress.
“We also place a lot of emphasis on work experience, making sure the students are employable once they leave us, and that they show the behaviours and attitudes of a working member of staff in any organisation.
“They all improve their independent thinking. Over the course of the two-years they are with us, they do need to take a bit of ownership for their learning and the development in the classroom and on the pitch. We just seem to see their confidence improve a lot, their communication skills with people outside of the course, for example when they’re delivering sessions to local schools, that confidence just gets brought out of them.”