Minister sees Football Apprentices in action
The Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, visited football apprentices from NPTC Group of Colleges at the Swansea City Football Club Academy to talk about their learning experiences.
NPTC Group of Colleges currently has 24 apprentice footballers at Swansea City F.C., thirteen of whom are starting their first year in September. The apprentices divide their time between the training ground and completing a Level 3 Diploma in Sporting Excellence at College. The apprentices also complete a Level 3 NVQ Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance and an Essential Skills Wales qualification to boot. The BTEC Level 3 is the equivalent to three A Levels and allows progression to university.
Past apprentices footballers include Euro 2016 Welsh squad semi-finalists Joe Allen, whose current team is Stoke City, Jazz Richards, Cardiff City and Ben Davies, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur. Ben received a further accolade from the College when he was awarded the NPTC Group of Colleges’ Fellowship at its recent Graduation.
Ian Jones, Head of Work-Based Learning, was delighted to be affiliated with the Swansea City Football Club and said:
‘’ Pathways is dedicated to supporting these young apprentices as they pursue a career in the professional game. By providing the apprentices with a sound education prepares them with an alternative career path whether it’s now or following a successful career. We have worked closely with the Premiership club for eight years and the relationship with the staff at the club is excellent.’’
Head of Education and Welfare in Swansea City F.C. Tony Thomas said:
“We are extremely fortunate to be able to take advantage of the excellent services provided by NPTC Group of Colleges’ work-based learning team Pathways Training as well as its experienced lecturers and our NVQ tutor, regarded as being one of the best in the Premier League. We emphasise to our young players and their parents that an apprenticeship in football is not just about developing technical skills and tactical understanding.
“We also provide Life Skill sessions for our apprentices and our aim is to develop well-rounded individuals who are good citizens. Many have emerged with creditable results which enable them to pursue higher education when they choose.”
Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, added:
“The Welsh Government is delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe. Swansea City Football Club’s Academy is a shining example of this. We recognise the benefits apprenticeships offer to the learners, employers and economy of Wales, and we are committed to the creation of at least 100,000 all-age apprentices, prioritising support for new entrants and higher level skills.
“We are committed to working together with work-based learning providers to support and develop the delivery of the Apprenticeships and Traineeship programmes to supply Wales with a diverse, capable and prepared labour force.”
PIC CAPTION: Right to Left
Nicola Thornton Scott, NPTC Group of Colleges Assistant Principal for Skills; Ian Jones, NPTC Group of Colleges Work Based Learning Manager; Minister Julie James; Nigel Rees Swansea City’s Academy Manager and Rebeca Storer, Swansea City Education Officer.