League Football Education’s Progression campaign kicked off in style as the Sheffield Arena played host to Progression 09 ‘The Northern Careers Event’ in association with Careers in Sport and Leisure.
The event held over two days saw over 500 Apprentice & Professional players and other elite athletes engage with employers, further/higher education institutions and training and recruitment organisations as part of LFE’s strategy to support, re-train and provide alternative career and study opportunities to sporting Apprentices and those retiring from sport.
Waves of Apprentices, Professionals and elite athletes took in seminars and wandered through the stalls of exhibitors on fact-finding missions eager to take on board the offerings and advice from exhibitors including, Challenger Sports, Fitness First, Lifetime, Manchester Metropolitan University, MLS Camps, Staffordshire University and The Royal Marines/Navy.
Scores of others, however, opted for a more gruelling schedule by taking up the Olympic challenge via UK Sport’s Pitch2Podium initiative. Testing endurance, power and speed on specially laid track, cycling machines, dyno’s and pressure pads many were keen to impress former Olympians Darren Campbell and Peter Elliot who had addressed them on arrival.
An arena, buzzing with a hive of activity designed for the purpose of benefitting both current and ex players and other elite athletes, was not lost on Sheffield Wednesday’s Richard Wood, Richard Hinds, Mark Beevers and Tommy Spurr.
While Woody, as he was referred to by his team-mates, developed more than a passing interest in the Lifetime stand his defensive counterpart Richard Hinds offered his thoughts on the day:
“Personally I think the events represent a fantastic chance for players to come down and have a look at the opportunities that are out there for them. Many young players and even senior pro’s probably don’t look further than life as a footballer but it’s important that you plan for the future.”
“It might be a bit of a cliché but it really struck home when I broke my leg earlier this season. I’m practicing what I preach in that I’m currently taking a degree in Law and I’d encourage all players to start developing their ‘Plan B’ as soon as possible.”