Preston North End’s Youth Department has been instrumental in helping a quartet of former Apprentices into new careers.
Ashley Higgins, Chris McGrail, Jack Cudworth and Ciaron Barton, all former Apprentices of the Championship Club, were released from the playing staff due to a combination of varying factors, however, keen not to wash their hands of them the Club is supporting all four as they aim to build new careers.
McGrail and Higgins (pictured below) have been using the experience and qualifications gained on the ASE programme in new roles in the Club’s Community Department working on ‘The School’s Football and Healthy Lifestyles programme’ which is being run in partnership with the Primary Care Trust.
The partnership sees the pair visit 400 schools in 3 years, using the power of football to raise awareness of the importance of healthy living. With day to day duties that include coaching and dealing with issues such as diet and nutrition the duo are aptly placed to engage with children on this topic, a skill that was originally recognised by Head of Youth Dean Ramsdale, he explains:
“Chris and Ash have both come through the ASE programme, which, in essence has given them the empirical knowledge to go out and convey information about the body, diet, nutrition and general health in an easy and understandable way.”
“Both were already working for me in the Centre of Excellence, coaching our young players, so I knew that they’d be a perfect fit for the Community Department. As soon as this opportunity emerged, I had no hesitation in recommending the lads to Gary Robinson (Community Manager) and they seem to have settled in really well.”
Also back at Deepdale is ex Apprentice Jack Cudworth, a former blogger for LFE who is combining goalkeeping coaching duties, across all age groups, with semi professional football in the Welsh Premier League.
Talking about his return to North End, he says;
“I really appreciate the help that Dean has given me by bringing me back as a coach, I take the U9’s through to the U18’s ‘keepers so it allows me to improve my skills as a coach, earn, learn and train so that I’m still able to play at a good level.”
Ciaron Barton makes up the quartet of former Apprentices returning to the fold after accepting an invitation from Ramsdale to gain practical experience within the medical department while he studies for a BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy Degree at LFE Progression partners Manchester Metropolitan University.