April 2021

Blues and University College Birmingham partnership gives school leavers new pathway into sports career

By Melanie Hall

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An exciting new pathway to help school leavers land their dream career in sport is on its way thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership between University College Birmingham and Birmingham City Football Club.

Equivalent to three A-levels and starting this September, the Level 3 Sport and Physical Activity (Football) course will give 16 to 19-year-olds the chance to gain qualifications in football coaching, personal training, analysis and psychology – and even play for football teams within the Birmingham City FC Community Trust.

Providing a unique insight into professional life in sport, lesson time will be split between University College Birmingham’s new Moss House campus, St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy stadium and Wast Hills Trillion Trophy training ground, combining studies with elite standard facilities.

"The idea behind the partnership is to offer an academic and footballing pathway to meet all of our learners’ needs"

Matt Dorgan 16-19 Education and Football manager, Birmingham City FC Community Trust

Readying students for a career or higher education, graduates can then go on to study undergraduate courses in Football Business Management, Sports Therapy or Strength, Conditioning and Sports Nutrition at University College Birmingham.

Matt Dorgan, 16-19 Education and Football manager at Birmingham City FC Community Trust, said: “Birmingham City Football Club chose to work with the University due to its reputation for delivering sports industry-based courses at degree level and wanted to give 16 to 19-year-olds a chance to work and study in a higher education setting in addition to the club’s facilities.

“The partnership with University College Birmingham is the first of its kind anywhere in the West Midlands.

“While other clubs and colleges support external progression pathways from further education to higher education, nowhere can boast an internal academic pathway which provides such variety and opportunities for learners, while also creating an industry-based environment for learners to develop newfound knowledge and skills on a daily basis.”

Elaine Limond, Deputy Dean for Strategy, Recruitment and Innovation at University College Birmingham, said: “We’re excited to partner with Birmingham City FC Community Trust and are looking forward to building a really innovative and rewarding relationship for all involved.”

Academic success will remain the primary objective for learners on the course, using industry-based learning opportunities to discover potential careers. The course will also allow learners to develop and continue their football journey with time dedicated to training, matches and education of the game.

The new partnership will also see the launch of Birmingham City’s football performance programme, which will provide a professional environment for the strongest players to continue their football development.

This includes three training sessions weekly, two strength and conditioning sessions, daily access to sports therapy and physiotherapy teams and pre and post-match analysis sessions.

The programme will also be an opportunity for players to play in regular showcase games against professional clubs. Based out of Birmingham City FC’s Wast Hills Trillion Trophy training ground, performance players will have regular access to the cutting-edge gym and Human Performance Centre and Laboratory at University College Birmingham’s new £44m Moss House campus.

“The idea behind the partnership is to offer an academic and footballing pathway to meet all of our learners’ needs,” added Matt. “It is a holistic and complete approach for anyone wanting a career in the sport industry.”

Find out more about our range of college, undergraduate and postgraduate courses available within our Department of Sport and Nutrition here.

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