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Wednesday 03 Jul 2024
Students’ hard work applauded at recognition event

The Irish FA’s Education and Employability Programme celebrated the success and hard work of its participants at a special recognition event held 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.

At the recognition event at the National Stadium the students enjoyed a stadium tour as well as competing for the fastest shot in the Education and Heritage Centre.

The Irish FA’s Director of Women’s Football, Angela Platt, Irish FA Foundation Primary Schools Manager Claire Rea and Irish FA Foundation Club Development Officer Kyle Robinson were guest speakers at the event.

They provided insights into their individual pathways, and they also outlined potential opportunities to get more involved with the foundation and football in Northern Ireland.

Participants on the Irish FA’s Education and Employability Programme volunteer and work on initiatives such as holiday camps, coaching at after-school activities and coaching at primary schools as well as being signposted to clubs.

The programme, which was a bronze award winner in this year’s UEFA Grassroots Awards for Best Education Initiative, had positive feedback from participants in 2023-24.

A total of 96% of students felt the programme had helped develop life skills (communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management etc), while 81% had a clearer idea of what career path they would like to take after being involved in the programme. And 96% of students said they would recommend the programme to others.

James Goodman, Post Primary Development Officer at the Irish FA Foundation, said: "Since the foundation has moved to a hub-based approach, it’s great to see foundation staff collaborating and maximising the opportunities for students on our programme.

“It’s also great to see a number of new schools come onboard recently, from areas that we simply couldn’t reach before.

“To be able to offer and deliver a UEFA-recognised programme to schools, reaching nearly 1,000 students, that offers such tremendous value to young people’s lives is very satisfying."

If a school or college would like to be involved in the programme in 2024-25 or would like more information then please contact:

Belfast N & SE Antrim - Damian McLaughlin -

Belfast E & N Down - Marissa Callaghan -

Lagan - Francis Brennan -

Newry, Mourne and Down - Ashleigh Flannigan -

North East - James Goodman - 

North West - Daniel Chambers -

South West - Stephen Erskine -