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Enhancing ASE, Progression, Personal Development and Recent Graduate Employment
Start date: Jun 1, 2016, End date: May 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project focuses on improving the youth development of male footballers in England and Wales. The background and context to this is wide and complex but includes the following key factors: 1. Male National Teams in international tournaments have underachieved given levels of investment in the game 2. European trained players are increasingly entering English/Welsh Senior teams instead of homegrown and very few English or Welsh players go into mainland Europe to play 3. Of the top 100 training clubs (those producing players performing in the top European Leagues) only 3 are English and 0 are Welsh (CIES data) - Holland, Spain and France have the most representatives 4. At 18 years of age only 40% the 675 apprentices attached to professional Football League Clubs will be offered a contract 5. By 21 only 5% of a year group will still be playing professionally 6. Contrary to popular belief the vast majority of professional footballers cannot "retire for life" 7. Serious issues of loss of identity are experienced when investing everything into "success" of the pitch 8. New thinking, now backed up by research, suggests that "Better People Make Better Players" This background and context raises a number of Performance, Identity, Well-Being and Transition/Dual Career challenges for young footballers and the coaching staff trying to develop them, so the following Strategic Objectives were created to address them: 1. Expose players/coaches to the philosophies and training environments which are producing players in Europe who are migrating to England/Wales 2. Enable players/coaches to observe, experience, evaluate, improve and acquire new technical, tactical & physical skills/training techniques 3. Facilitate Personal/Professional Development of players/coaches and the acquisition of greater self-knowledge, new behaviours and attitudes, cultural awareness, employability and language skills 4. Expand player/coach knowledge of labour market opportunities inside and outside of performance within Europe and encourage outward migration 5. Challenge players/coaches to take responsibility for embedding acquired knowledge and learning in to their everyday environments and programmes 6. Effect structural changes at the governing body level (Premier League/Football League/FA) and within the Apprenticeship framework based on European best practice In order to create learning and development opportunities for the above objectives the following activities are proposed: 1. Two week training programme for 12 professional youth teams in Holland/Spain. Apprentice players are aged 16-18 and undertaking the Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (ASE) programme. This would give 240 apprentices an opportunity to learn and develop. 2. Twelve week placement programme for 30 recent graduates of ASE NOT offered professional terms at their club upon completion of the programme 3. One week work placement for 10 Professional Development Phase coaches at The Spanish FA/in Spanish Clubs We use a planning matrix which maps Strategic Objectives to particular Mobility Activities, desired Learning Outcomes and finally into the ASE qualification standards/Key Questions to gather evidence of learning. Ultimately we expect the mobilities to create self-reflection and develop self-knowledge, inspire participants to effect change in themselves, at their level and at whatever level they are able to influence beyond themselves and their immediate environment. A player is able to effect personal change and those of his team mates and even inspire change in his coaches if he has the interpersonal skills and confidence to challenge them in the right way. The coaches are able to effect personal change and changes in their club programmes to have a positive impact on their current and future players, the wider ASE programme and indeed into the foundations of English and Welsh player development standards and the FA coaching curriculum moving forward. LFE can also take this to the UEFA level with support from the PL/FL and FA and want to facilitate and support all such changes. We also expect that the training and surrounding social environments in Europe allow/target the creation of better people (i.e. whole person development) rather than simply focusing on technical, tactical and physical development and which is the missing element of the English and Welsh training programmes.

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