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Maximising Success for Apprentice Football Players Through European Mobility
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project will address key Erasmus+ priorities by targeting and benefiting apprentice participants who are at a significant disadvantage in the labour market and will focus on providing European mobility experiences for 30 young apprentices in the 16-20 age group who will travel to Portugal in July 2015. The Portuguese host partner is a regional training and coaching complex used by top Portuguese professional clubs (FC Olhanense, FC Portimonense, FC Louletano, FC Quarteirense). Innovations in physiological development, dietetics, coaching delivery, tactical analysis and cardiovascular training will be studied and used to improve player development efficiency, skills acquisition and coaching competences. In view of the differing restrictions imposed by the varying scholastic commitments of the players as they progress through their apprenticeship programme, plus their commitment to competitive match fixtures it was agreed by all of the partners that that a two week mobility period would provide maximum benefit from a European mobility experience, while imposing minimum disruption to academic and vocational training courses. Mobility will be preceded by a structured preparatory phase and a two week duration will facilitate optimal absorption of the vocational training and skills development at the host institution. Our Portuguese host partner clubs 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 first team ranks are anticipated, while improved academic attainment and European work experience will improve employability in secondary careers for those not fortunate enough to make the professional grade. 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 is fully committed to this Erasmus+ project, having successfully hosted participants in recent years from a variety of European countries under the Lifelong Learning Programme. Young people in the UK are, in the main, rather parochial in nature and exhibit a reluctance to undertake occupational mobility. This is particularly so with young people who have poor records of academic achievement or are socially disadvantaged. At present, fewer than 1% of persons under the age of 21 in the UK will undertake a work-related mobility placement. This project will directly address this national 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. BWFC’s dissemination activities will be complemented by our Portuguese partner, 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 will be actively encouraged.
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