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Southampton FC Apprenticeship Enhancement & Exit and Progression Opportunities
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

CONTEXT Southampton FC is a professional football club based in Southampton, Hampshire. The main aim of the club's Academy is to scout and develop players who will potentially reach professional status. However, regardless of the level of success achieved in football, Apprentices receive advice and education that provide a solid platform from which they can move forward and make sound decisions in life. The framework for this education is the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme, a unique sporting vocational qualification for young people with the realistic potential to achieve excellence in sport. OBJECTIVES The primary aim of this project is to enhance and improve the vocational training and development of Apprentices at SFC. Working with host partner MSC in Italy, the project will also aim to provide greater exit and progression opportunities for Apprentices 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 SFC AASE programme and Apprentices. 2) Exposing Apprentices 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 Apprentices with the aptitude and skills to pursue employment, either within sport or outside of it, throughout their career. NUMBER AND PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS Participants will be the circa 24 (male) Apprentices undertaking the SFC AASE programme in the 2016/17 football season (i.e. the 2015 and 2016 cohorts). These Apprentices are selected primarily on the basis of their football ability and therefore incorporate a wide range of academic abilities, socioeconomic circumstances and ethnic backgrounds. PROJECT ACTIVITIES The majority of the work placement activities will take place at the MSC facility, including: - Regular training sessions to address the defined sports performance targets. - Games versus high quality Italian youth teams. - Daily feedback and evaluation sessions to confirm goal setting/reflection. MSC has outstanding links at a local, regional and national level which will enable SFC to enhance the work placement activities of participants. For example: - Access to top flight Italian football teams, Roma and Lazio. - A visit to the Universtiy of Rome. - Observation of a live Serie A fixture. METHODOLGY SFC 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. IMPACTS The 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 SFC are expected to include: - Enhancement of the SFC AASE programme both in terms of improved technical sporting quality of Apprentices and coaches, and also Apprentice achievement rates. - Implementation of best practice across the SFC AASE programme and also the wider Premier League AASE programme. - Improved exit and progression opportunities for Apprentices, both within sport and outside of it, and in the UK and Europe.

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