Football League Apprentices are some of the biggest success stories from the current apprenticeship drive, according to official statistics.
Eighty eight per cent of apprentices on the Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme managed by LFE graduated successfully in 2008, putting LFE among the top work-based learning training providers in the country.
AASE at Football League Clubs is now one of the best performing programmes funded and assessed by the Learning Skills Council (LSC) and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).
LFE’s performance of 88 per cent compares to the national average of 64 per cent and supports Gordon Brown’s decision to create an extra 35,000 apprenticeships to prepare the economy for future recovery.
Set up as a structured learning programme to assist young player’s development within the game, LFEâ€™s AASE scheme is also designed to prepare them if they need to pursue careers off the field.
With intense competition to make the grade only 40 per cent per cent of young footballers end up signing professional at 18, making additional support to progress in to further education or industry invaluable.
Graduates from the scheme play throughout The Football League with some having moved to Premier League clubs. Others pursue university educations in subjects including biology and physics, while some move into employment in careers such as physiotherapy, the fire service and plumbing.
“The government says we need to help young people explore their full potential and give them the tools and experience they need to not only excel in their chosen field, but also pursue a variety of career paths. We’re proving that this approach really does work,” says LFE Chief Executive, Alan Sykes.
“Each year the sporting world produces hundreds of exceptionally disciplined, dedicated and talented footballers who donâ€™t continue to compete as professional players but who have a huge amount of valuable skills to offer. Our aim is to ensure they find other ways to use their talents and abilities by introducing them to new training either inside or outside of their chosen sport, but also to new career paths and further education in various industries”.
Hilary Chadwick, Director of the National Employer Service of the LSC, who provide government funding and support to the programme said:
“These Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for these young footballers to get the broader skills and education they need both now and in the future”.
Skills Active the sector skills council for active leisure and learning hope the success of LFE will encourage other sports to run an AASE programme in the build up to 2012 and beyond.