The Irish FA’s Education and Employability Programme celebrated and recognised the success and hard work of its participants at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.
The programme is designed to run in partnership with schools and colleges for post-16 A-Level and BTEC students who have an interest in a career not only in football but also in the sport and leisure industry.
It aims to provide participants with opportunities to use their qualifications, develop new skills and enhance UCAS or job applications. Participants volunteer and work on Irish FA programmes such as holiday camps, coaching on after school’s programmes and coaching at primary schools as well as being signposted to clubs.
The students enjoyed a stadium tour as well as competing for the fastest shot in the Education and Heritage Centre. Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood and Northern Ireland senior women’s team captain Marissa Callaghan were guest speakers at the event, and they gave words of encouragement to the graduates.
This year’s graduation event celebrated over 700 students across 28 schools and colleges that have been part of a programme that the Irish FA Foundation hopes will 'build capacity and leave a legacy' across Northern Ireland.
Julie Alexander, course co-ordinator at Northern Regional College (NRC) Ballymena, said: "We would like to thank the Irish FA for their commitment, inspiration, positivity and patience. Our students develop so many transferable skills that they will either use in their coaching, with their clubs, on or off the pitch and with their future employment. The staff that have delivered this course have been wonderful role models and have helped shape a development path for those enrolled on the course.”
James Goodman, Education Officer at the Irish FA Foundation, added: "The Education and Employability Programme has gone from strength to strength over the last five years. As we deliver coach education, practical workshops and BTEC, as well as providing real world experience and life skills, we can tailor our delivery to each school's needs. Today was a wonderful way to recognise that, and to add more value to the students, schools and colleges that we work with."
If a school or college would like to be involved in the programme in 2023/24 or would like more information, please contact:
Francis Brennan (Education Officer) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Chambers (Education Officer) – email@example.com
James Goodman (Education Officer) - firstname.lastname@example.org