Footballing apprentices are helping Middlesbrough Football Club to stay ahead of the competition.
Some 14 apprentices make up the second year cohort of League Football Education apprentices at the club, supported by Northern Skills Group, and five have impressed bosses so much they’ve been offered full time positions.
Mitchell Curry (pictured above), Marcus Tavenier, Ben Liddle, Liam Hegarty and James Cook have been offered contracts on professional terms with the club, thanks to their hard work and support from League Football Education, and Northern Skills Group.
The training is run through the club’s established Academy – which aims to cultivate the top players of tomorrow.
Barry Dawson, head of Education and Welfare at Middlesbrough FC’s Academy, explained: “Our boys undertake a two-year apprenticeship through the Football League or Premier League – depending on which division the club is in at the time.
“Their training is made up of a football programme, in which they play in an under 18s league against the likes of Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City and Manchester united.
“They also study a Level 3 BTEC in Sport (Performance & Excellence) an NVQ in Football (Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance) and a Level 2 Coaching Award through the Football Association.
“On top of that they’re part of an extensive player care programme that deals with aspects such as mental health, preventing addition, managing money and alternative careers.”
The five budding stars have impressed Barry and his team at the Academy, and will now combine their passion on the pitch with skills training that can set them up for a career in the game.
Dawson added: “Football has a responsibility to develop the next generation of talented and aspiring young players.
“Middlesbrough F.C. has an outstanding reputation within the sport of developing and fostering new talent.
“The Academy provides the ideal environment for this to happen as its foundation is built upon humility, respect and honesty.”
Among the other League Football Education apprentices at the club are Nathan Convery, Brandon Holdsworth, Bradley James, Jay Wilson, Matthew Wilson, Jack Lambert, Patrick Reading, Anthony Renton and Keiran Storey.
Northern Skills Group provides the BTEC qualification studied by the apprentices.
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive at Middlesbrough College, added: “Apprenticeships are an effective way for employers to build the skills they need for the future, and for young people to develop careers.
“The trainees at Middlesbrough F.C. are an inspiration to other young people considering their options.
“It goes to show that apprenticeship opportunities are available across a broad range of industries – including football.”