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Improving Apprentice Skills Through Mobility
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

A key factor contributing to the development of the skills gap between English and European players has been a relative lack of interaction between our apprentice players and those at European clubs. This has been ongoing over the past 10-15 years, at a time of major European innovations in player development and coaching delivery. This ignorance of advanced European methodology has hindered skills acquisition among our young apprentice players, relative to European player development on an age-matched basis.This project will allow a group of 25 SWFC apprentices (aged from 16 to 19 years of age) to gain experience of the training methods at an acknowledged (UEFA) Centre of Excellence in Austria. The Austrian host partner is a regional training and coaching complex used by Austrian 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 the 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 host partner, Obertraun, was chosen on the basis of them being an acknowledged European Centre of Excellence and can demonstrate clear evidence of a mobility support structure for prospective participants. The duration of the mobility has been set at two weeks following discussions with coaching staff at the SWFC Academy and our Austrian partner. Mobility participants will be apprentices employed by SWFC under the Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (ASE) framework which is a work-based learning programme combining training and playing experiences with study for academic qualifications. SWFC 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.Aside from our own internal evaluation processes, SWFC will participate in a Sector Skills Alliance (SSA) involving other UK professional football clubs who are participating in Erasmus+ VET Learner mobility. 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.Key project objectives involve the enhanced acquisition of key coaching innovations which will result in improved player performance and enhanced skills levels for the participant during mobility. The ultimate evaluation of success will be an increase in employability of participants achieving success as a professional footballer or gaining employment in a secondary career pathway. These are medium/long term surveys, which will be undertaken by SWFC on an ongoing basis following completion of mobility. The data collected will be disseminated freely.

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