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Using Mobility to Combat Apprentice Unemployment
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project will address key Eramus+ priorities by targeting and benefiting participants living in Lancashire who are at a significant disadvantage in the labour market. This Erasmus+ project will focus on providing European mobility experiences for 30 young apprentices in the 16-19 age group who will travel to Portugal in May 2016. Our host partner, Benfica FC is a world leader in the development of young male and female players through their early identification in the grassroots leagues and progression through the club academy structures into full-time professional status. The strong emphasis on community involvement has been shown to enhance player retention rates and development profiles for both male and female players. Our Portuguese partner will provide access to innovative state of the art Portuguese coaching methods that enhance player performance and development, increase employability and improve progression rates for apprenitces into first team positions. Community network innovations and advanced coaching competences will be supplementary outcomes for participants and accompanying coaches. 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 stakeholders that that a two week mobility period would provide maximum benefit from a European 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 Benfica FC Academy. Benfica FC is applauded as having a world class record 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 exposure will improve employability in secondary careers for those not fortunate enough to make the 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. 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. Fleetwood Town FC’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 and vacationing football supporters will be actively encouraged. The mobility experiences and competences acquired by apprentices and staff will be used to increase our involvement in regional, national and international partnerships to exchange best practice. A prime example will be the National Mobility Partnership (NMP). The NMP will also include a sector skills alliance where other professional clubs, associated local enterprises and training providers will be invited to join the partnership. Fleetwood Town FC will also form a Sector skills alliances with other UK professional clubs, Apprenticeship training providers and affiliated FE colleges which will use the outcomes of the European mobility programme to constantly evaluate the vocational course content and delivery which will allow the stakeholders to adjust training content to reflect European innovation and industry demands to increase the employability of our apprentices.
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