CEO: Start Your Career at Blackpool FC Sports College

Over the past few months we have been working very closely with education partners from Blackpool Council and a host of other providers to support young people, in Year 11, to understand the options available to them now that they have completed their secondary education career.

I proudly sit on the town’s ‘Opportunity Area’ partnership board, which is a group of professionals brought together to support the towns education provision.

Blackpool is one of 12 areas in the country that was given this funded provision three years ago, to try and make a difference to giving our young people the best opportunities we can.

A host of provisions have been developed, centred on career journeys, additional education supports and even school holiday programmes that focus on giving children that receive free school meals a lunch or dinner when they are not at school, whilst taking part in positive activities.

All the above became even more important in the next phase of our recovery from COVID-19.

A very exciting improvement to the offer is a new website that has been developed by the OA (opportunity area) team, which is a website called Start in Blackpool.

Start in Blackpool is a free digital platform designed to support each pupil’s individual career journey and prepare them for employment. The online Blackpool Careers Journey forms part of the learning platform and is now live on the website. It offers a series of short courses for young people to boost their employability training as well as improve their skills and knowledge.

The priority, in the first instance, is to target vulnerable young people who are at risk of ending up not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Pupils will benefit from a wide variety of resources from education providers and be able to learn about future careers as well gaining an insight into the vast job opportunities available across the Fylde coast.

The main aim is to improve outcomes for children and young people from education through to employment. This means that children should be well prepared to start school by the time they are aged five, be able to achieve their full potential whilst at school and college and be well-informed to make ambitious choices about their future as adults.

We have been involved in shaping the content of the website and trying to help make sure the journey of each user is appropriate to that audience. We are now tasked with helping make sure every young person, parent and or carer and education establishments are aware of this service and to spread the word of this free resource.

A key reason for engaging in this service was also to make people aware of the opportunities we, at Blackpool FC Community Trust, have available to young people leaving school via our BFC Sports College. Our provision has existed for more than seven years now and continues to increase in success each year.

As a progression for school leavers our offer includes BTEC education programmes, for all learning levels (Level 1, 2, 3 and extended diploma) in Sports Studies, with an amazing and unmatched enrichment available via our Football Academy or Sports Coaching options.

Students get the opportunity to study a full time college education programme in the unique setting of a professional Football Club. The aim of each course is to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and expertise to build a career within the sports, fitness and leisure industry.

To find out more information, please go to the Start in Blackpool website or Blackpool FC Sports College.

We are still delivering virtual open sessions and sign up sessions, but have the full intention to open and deliver face to face education from September, in our brand new BFC Sports College facility at Bloomfield Road Stadium.

We also have a Foundation Degree option for young people looking to continue higher education, as an alternative to going away to University. Based predominantly at Bloomfield Road stadium for lectures, seminars and tutorials, you can study for your degree locally.

Delivered in partnership with the University of South Wales (USW) and EFL Trust, our two-year Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development provides the opportunity for you to gain an industry recognised coaching award while being affiliated to Blackpool Football Club.

This award winning course provides you with the skills and qualities that are required to work within a professional football club community department or national governing body (e.g. The FA) in areas such as social inclusion, community coaching and football development.

In my opinion, there is genuinely no better education offer available locally for people that want a career in Sport. The support, education offer and enrichment opportunities alongside working in a leading sport and leisure charity puts us above the rest, so please do get in contact for further information.