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Enhancing Employment Prospects for Apprentices in the Scottish Highlands
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This current project will address key Erasmus+ priorities by targeting and benefiting participants from a disadvantaged remote area in the Highlands of Scotland who are at a significant disadvantage in the labour market. This project will allow a group of 16 Ross County FC apprentices (aged from 16 to 19 years) to gain experience of the training methods at an acknowledged (UEFA) Centre of Excellence in Portugal. The Portuguese host partner is a regional training and coaching complex used by Portuguese and European professional teams which are applauded as having world class records in talent identification, innovative coaching and player development. Innovations in physiological development, dietetics, coaching delivery, tactical analysis and cardiovascular training will be studied and used to improve skills acquisition and player development. Improved success rates for apprentices in being admitted to the professional ranks of UK clubs are anticipated, while improved academic attainment and European exposure will improve employability in secondary careers. Consequently this project will prioritise the following specific objectives: 1. Improved physiological development of participants via the implementation of innovative training regimes as a direct result of structured Erasmus+ mobility programme. 2. Skills and technology transfer between the Academy mobility apprentices and players in Europe. 3. Improved employment rates for mobility participants in professional football careers. 4. Improved linguistic skills for participants and an awareness of the cultural diversity within another European country. 5. Increased maturity and sense of initiative. 6. Increased self-empowerment and self-esteem. 7. Enhanced intercultural awareness. 8. More active participation in work and social environments. 9. Enhancement of soft skills. 10. Increased motivation both on and off the field. Our Portuguese partner and the associated local Portuguese clubs are fully committed to this Erasmus+ project, having successfully hosted IVT and/or VETPRO participants from a variety of European countries funded under the previous Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme. Young people in Scotland are, in the main, rather parochial in nature and exhibit a reluctance to undertake occupational mobility. This is particularly so with young people in the region where many have poor records of academic achievement and are socially disadvantaged. At present, fewer than 1% of persons under the age of 21 in Scotland will undertake a work-related mobility placement. This project will directly address this regional shortcoming and will contribute to the Lisbon and Europe 2020 Strategies. Football clubs are fairly unique entities in the access to the media of publicity and this will prove an excellent dissemination vehicle to encourage other young people to seek out mobility opportunities. Ross County FC will participate in a Sector Skills Alliance (SSA) involving other UK football clubs who are participating in Erasmus+ VET Learner mobility and their associated apprenticeship training providers. This SSA will seek to improve the content and delivery of vocational training programmes and training methodologies in the UK by sharing European best practice and incorporating these initiatives within the vocational education framework. A particular focus will be put on work-based learning and processes that provide learners with mobility-enhanced skills to maximise their potential for success in the labour market. Ross County FC will publicise the project through local and national media, to include television, radio and national and local newspapers. This will be complemented by our European partners, who will actively participate in the dissemination processes by issuing press releases to local media throughout the mobility. Friendly matches played by the participants against host opposition will be publicised in the host region and attendance by local spectators actively encouraged.

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