Posted by SCL Education Group on 26.02.18
Tallying more than 1,000 professional appearances and over 250 goals before hanging up his boots in 2012, English coach, pundit and former footballer, Steve Claridge, has enjoyed an impressive career both on and off the pitch.
Managing the likes of Weymouth, Portsmouth FC, and currently Salisbury, while establishing a successful media career with BBC Sports, the proven goalscorer is considered somewhat of an expert on the Football League.
Turning attention to developing the next generation of sporting star, the Steve Claridge Foundation have teamed up with leading education providers, SCL Education Group, as they strive to pass on Claridge’s wealth of experience to young and aspiring footballers.
The two-year full-time education and football development programme for 16-18 year olds, in partnership with SCL, combines on-pitch learning with first-class, academic study.
Delivering Level 3 programmes from two academies across the South of England, the Foundation equips young learners with the tools required to succeed within the illustrious game.
SCL and the Steve Claridge Foundation work together to provide all learners with the skills, motivation, work ethic and qualifications needed to enhance their football and sporting opportunities.
On Claridge’s inspiration to set up the programme, Paul Addis, Academy Manager, told The NLP: “The main thing is to give back. He always says that he never had this opportunity when he was this age, and if he did, he would have taken it with both hands.”
Based at the Foundation’s Wiltshire Academy, Addis added: “We allow people to come into the Academy, learn how they want to see their future, and give them the best opportunity to do so. Whether it’s within sport or not, it allows them to develop within themselves.”
Combining daily training with classroom study, the Foundation programme boasts fantastic exit routes into higher education and employment.
“It’s that constructive and also unconventional pathway in terms of going into higher education, a full time job, or a different level of football”, added SCL Education Group Tutor, Aaron Rogers.
“We put them through their FA Level 1 for free and help them get their first aid qualifications. There are other elements as well, they can get work experience by coming along and helping on matchdays, and they can go and speak to anyone in the club and find out how the football club runs.”
“One of our students did some work experience with Salisbury Journal”, explained Rogers. “He got his write up of the Salisbury game in the Journal. Without having that doorway into the club, he might not have got that opportunity”.
Developing far more than just gameplay, Rogers told The NLP: “It’s not just what they do on pitch, it’s about what they do outside of the pitch that we look at.”
“We get to know them all”, explained Addis. “We’ve got that individual learning plan ready to go, because we get to know them.
“We know what’s good for them, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy. We’ve got that flexibility with them which improves their confidence. When you can instil a bit more confidence in them, they do excel”, he added.
Understanding the importance of the education and football mix, Addis told The NLP: “There are practical elements, but a lot of people want to know why; Why is that technique important? Why is that training programme important? It’s with the education background that they’ll get from us that they’ll be able to answer those questions and develop that a little more.”
“I think when we show those lads the same respect that we want from them, they excel. Learners that we’ve had that have maybe struggled through GCSE’s are now getting merits and distinctions, because they enjoy the environment”, he continued.
“It’s slightly more relaxed. They’ve still got those driven targets and they’re hitting those achievement milestones, but it’s in a different environment completely and it has a more relaxed approach”.
As the spearhead of the academy, Steve Claridge maintains a regular presence at the training ground, offering the boys one-to-one coaching tips, as well as training sessions with the former Premier League footballer himself.
A proven motivator for the boys on the programme, Addis explained: “He has a front-row seat and he’ll be down to the club to speak with them.”
“Because of his media connections, he offers a different aspect to us. We’ve got two lads coming from Salisbury that are going on to Sport Journalism. That’s really off the back of the way that Steve talked about his radio, and the work that he used to do with BBC.
“Those that do well with us in the Academy, he’ll look after.”
Looking to the future of the programme and the Foundation’s thriving partnership with SCL, Addis told The NLP: “It’s only ever going to go from strength to strength, in my opinion. I’ve been impressed with the way that SCL look after and support the members of staff.
“SCL help us with recruitment in terms of bookings, which is a better process than we’ve ever had before.”
Steve Franks, Managing Director, Education and Training at SCL Education Group said: “Steve, Paul and the team at the Foundation are really inspirational and are providing the boys with fantastic opportunities, both sporting and educationally.
“We are proud to be partnering with them and to be able to provide the lads with the education that will hopefully open up new pathways and careers moving forward.”
To find out more about the Steve Claridge Foundation programme in partnership with SCL, or if you know someone aged 16-18 years’ old who would like to apply, visit wearescl.co.uk/steve-claridge-wiltshire or wearescl.co.uk/steve-claridge-hampshire.
The Sports Academy study programme for young adults combines full-time education with sporting excellence and is delivered in partnership with Professional and grassroots clubs.
By: Hannah Cameron