Posted by SCL Education Group on 03.12.15
WOKING Football Club has worked in partnership with SCL for over five years and the club’s community co-ordinator and welfare officer, Jane Spong, could not be happier with the relationship!
SCL is an innovative private education provider that works with grass-roots and professional football clubs to create a unique football academy that aims to both inspire young adults into education and also develop future first team stars.
Spong told The NLP: “We have had a really strong relationship with SCL that has helped us to get the best out of the boys, not just on the field but in the classroom as well.”
To date SCL has teamed up with over 40 Non-League and professional clubs to create a full-time education and football/coaching development programme for 16 to 18 year olds.
Football training plays a key role at the academies but a strong emphasis is also placed on education.
“It is really important for us to provide a Plan B for the boys,” said Spong. “We all know that not everyone is going to make it into the first team so it is vital the boys have qualifications to fall back on.
“We make it clear how important these qualifications are by telling the boys if they are behind with their education they don’t get to participate in the football.”
Through SCL’s educational provision, players at Woking’s Academy are able to enhance their footballing development and also work towards BTEC Diploma in Sport, sports coaching qualifications and Maths and English GCSEs.
SCL’s co-founder Steve Franks told The NLP: “Our Academy programme uses the power of football to motivate and offer young people an unique programme which enables them to stay in education, while keeping one eye on the dream of progressing through the ranks into the first team or onto other opportunities within football.”
In recent years Woking FC has built on the Football Academy model by introducing an Apprenticeship scheme for their community department in partnership with SCL.
“The gap is widening between academy football and first team football and we wanted to find a way of bridging this gap whilst also providing a career progression here at the club for graduating Academy players into employment,” said Spong.
“We select ten players who successfully completed their two years in the Academy and invite them to continue with the club for a third year.
“The apprentices have a unique job role working within the community department delivering sports coaching and assisting with the delivery of PE lessons in primary schools. Plus our apprentices continue their football development and have the opportunity to be around, and play with, the first team or go out on loan to other clubs.
“We have had a number of successes from the Apprenticeship programme. For example, Andrew Mills is one of our boys who has appeared regularly for the first team this season.”
This year Woking have further expanded their relationship with SCL by creating a brand new Coaching Academy.
“We take on a lot of young people on work experience within our community department and a lot of them probably don’t have the right skills to come onto the Football Academy, but enjoy the coaching side of the game,” said Spong.
“SCL created a bespoke education and sports coaching work experience programme and we are the first SCL partner club to set up a Coaching Academy.
“In a similar way to our Football Academy, school leavers are offered a one or two year programme, only here the emphasis is placed on providing them with qualifications and skills to create the next generation of coaches.
“The students are educated five days a week. Students at the Coaching Academy undertake a Sports Diploma alongside their Level 1 and Level 2 FA coaching badges. In addition they receive vital on the job mentoring while out undertaking work experience in local schools and the community.”
Students at the Coaching Academy have the opportunity to work within Woking’s much applauded community department. This year the club beat off stiff competition to win the 2015 Community Club of the Year at the Vanarama National League Annual Congress.
“We do quite a bit in the community!” said Spong. “We coach about 110 hours a week in schools delivering curriculum time and after school clubs at around 23 schools around the Woking area.
“We also run walking football for the over 50s and the Surrey Community Football League, which is a league for adults suffering from mental health issues. We are very proud this league has now been affiliated with the Surrey FA.”
Woking have clearly benefited from their flourishing relationship with SCL and the organisation’s Managing Director and Co-Founder Lewis Field told The NLP that SCL is always looking for new opportunities and partnerships.
Field said: “Whether clubs have an existing Academy and are looking for an alternative education provider or want to set up a programme from scratch, SCL has the expertise, support structure and experience to make it happen.”
This piece first appeared in The Non-League Paper on Sunday, October 25th.