EE is pledging new investment with the Irish Football Association over the next two years to support 200 women in becoming accredited football coaches.
The initiative is part of a wider new partnership through which EE, the BT-owned mobile and broadband network, is confirmed as the lead partner of the Northern Ireland senior women’s team ahead of UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
Today’s announcements are the latest stage in BT’s long-term partnership with the Irish FA -as well as with the football associations of England, Wales and Scotland - to use its technology and innovation to help change the lives of millions of players, coaches and fans.
Through its ‘4-3-3’ strategy BT Group is committed to initiatives and projects spanning disability, grassroots and women’s football to deliver against specific goals for their communities.
The partnership has already benefitted communities across Northern Ireland: for example in February this year BT, with non-profit organisation Cybersmile and the Irish FA, launched an online education platform for young people designed to tackle online bullying via https://cybersmileeducation.org/cat/roadshow
Under the initiative announced today EE and the Irish FA will provide bursaries for 100 women per year over the next two years – 200 in total - to achieve the Irish FA’s National Coaching Certificate (NCC), preparing a new generation of women to facilitate and organise coaching sessions.
It represents a 25% increase on last year’s cohort of NCC coaches. The NCC provides theoretical and practical content with a tutor plus online modules. The course includes aspects such as developing coaching session plans, first aid, nutrition and safeguarding. More details about the bursaries, including how to apply, will be announced in due course.
Northern Ireland’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifier against England Women tomorrow (12 April) in Belfast will see the team don new EE-sponsored kit for the first time. In addition the England team will be wearing EE-sponsored kit, while the stadium will be carrying EE branding.
Pete Jeavons, Marketing Communications Director at BT, said: “EE is incredibly proud to become the new lead partner for the Northern Ireland senior women’s football team - we look forward to supporting an exciting period for the game in Northern Ireland.
“Our new commitment to supporting 200 aspiring football coaches in Northern Ireland will complement BT Group’s long-term partnership with the Irish Football Association to upskill players, coaches and fans by using our technology and joint resources.”
Angela Platt, the Irish FA’s Director of Women’s Football, said: “We are delighted to welcome EE as the lead partner of the Northern Ireland senior women’s team.
“Interest in the women’s and girls’ game in Northern Ireland has never been higher and the introduction of 200 EE coaching bursaries for women as part of this deal demonstrates the appetite we have, along with our new partners at EE, in improving the gender representation across our coaching network and maximising the success of the senior women’s team by translating it into opportunities both on and off the pitch in other parts of the game.”
Today’s announcements contribute towards BT’s Skills for Tomorrow target to provide 25 million people with the skills they need to make the most of life in the digital world.
In line with BT’s purpose to Connect for Good, the new ambition aims to help more people across the UK have the skills they need to stay connected, tackle the digital divide and support the UK’s economic recovery.