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Creating Partnerships to Enhance Professional Development
Start date: 01 Jul 2016, End date: 30 Jun 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

CONTEXTManchester International Football Academy (MIFA) is a private vocational training provider which gives talented young athletes an opportunity to fully develop their sporting potential whilst also achieving vocational qualifications. MIFA aims to equip students with the skills and experience to progress into education or employment within sport via a formal training programme which provides a full-time, unique and innovative learning experience for 16-19 year olds who have not quite made the grade at a professional club, or simply have a passion for football and want to pursue their dreams. OBJECTIVESThe primary aim of this project is to further enhance and improve the vocational training and development of MIFA students. Working with host partner Browns in Portugal, the project will also aim to provide greater exit and progression opportunities for students upon completion of the programme. The project will have 3 overarching strategic objectives: 1) Facilitating the transfer of European training methods, development environments, techniques and philosophies into both the MIFA programme and students.2) Exposing students to the European opportunities in both sport and other careers so these can be explored and more readily understood, accepted and pursued in the future.3) Embedding lifelong learning principles into the training and development programme and working cultures in order to equip students with the aptitude and skills to pursue employment, either within sport or outside of it, throughout their career.NUMBER AND PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTSThere are currently 40 students at MIFA of which approximately 55% are male, 45% are female and 38% are from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. Participants will be selected from the circa 90 students that will form part of the MIFA programme in the 2016/2017 academic year. PROJECT ACTIVITIESThe majority of the project activities will take place at the Browns facility, including:- Regular training sessions to address the defined sports performance targets. - Games versus high quality Portugese youth teams.- Daily feedback and evaluation sessions to confirm goal setting/reflection.Browns has outstanding links at a local, regional and national level which will enable MIFA to enhance the activities of participants. For example:- Access to top flight Portugese football teams, Portimonense SC and SC Olhanense.- A visit to the Algarve Football Association.- Observation of a live Portugese professional league fixture. METHODOLGYMIFA will use the principles of the European Quality Charter for Mobility to set goals and define tasks for the key elements of the project:1) INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE: production of clear and accessible resources.2) LEARNING PLAN: clearly defining the project objectives and the role of each partner in achieving them.3) PERSONALISATION: pre-visit assessment of participants' desired learning outcomes.4) PREPARATION: a structured preparation programme tailored to individual needs.5) LANGUAGE: provision of formal and informal language training.6) LOGISTICS: a formal contract to be signed by both parties outlining practical and logistical responsibilities.7) MENTORING: provision of suitably qualified staff to facilitate achievement of individual goals and ensure integration.8) RECOGNITION: delivery of formal instruments to recognise individual learning outcomes.9) EVALUATION: comprehensive and objective evaluation of all aspects of the project.10) RESPONSIBILITIES: agreement by all parties on their roles and responsibilities in the successful delivery of the project, formalised in writing via a Memorandum of Understanding and individual participant Learning Plans. IMPACTSThe impacts on participants are expected to include:- Achievement of recognised qualifications (e.g. BTEC L1 Work Skills). - Development of life skills and experience that can be utilised throughout participants' education and careers.- Enhanced cultural and linguistic skills, facilitating openness to new opportunities both in the UK and Europe.- Improved knowledge and understanding of the European opportunities in sport and other careers.The impacts on MIFA are expected to include:- Enhancement of the MIFA programme both in terms of improved technical sporting quality of students and coaches, and also student achievement rates. - Implementation of best practice across the MIFA programme.- Improved exit and progression opportunities for students, both within sport and outside of it, and in the UK and Europe.
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