News Story

History made as full-time diploma is launched at Inver

LARNE Football Club is delighted to announce the launch of a full time Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in sport, in partnership with Liverpool Football College in association with Steven Gerrard.

The course, which will begin next month (September) is the first to be offered by a football club in Northern Ireland, with similar projects proving highly successful amongst many professional sides in England.

Based at Inver Park, students will not only follow a sophisticated training programme which mirrors that of our first-team, the only full-time professional club in the NIFL Premiership, but will also receive the opportunity to progress their education by completing an Edexcel BTEC Diploma which equates to three A Levels and carries up to 168 UCAS points.

Director of Education in NI, Emmett Clerkin said “We’re delighted that Liverpool Football College in association with Steven Gerrard have given the green light for this programme.

“We are all set for a September start and whilst it has been a quick turnaround, the reason we are able to press ahead is because of the infrastructure in place at Larne Football Club.

“Primarily this will be for pupils who have just finished their GCSEs, but we also tend to have some students who have been out of education for a year, or have done a year at sixth form or College and have decided it’s not for them.

“We deliver two units per term and these range from sports injuries to nutrition and fitness testing – every single aspect of sport really. An exciting part of the course at Larne is that students will have the opportunity to apply for a two week learning exchange to Tenerife, here they will be given the chance to train with Spanish clubs.

“Young people who have aspirations of studying at university in the future will be able to access degrees here in NI, or overseas in the UK and America. Those with an appetite to travel abroad will be introduced to active employers including football clubs and coaching companies in countries such as America, Canada, Tenerife, Sri Lanka and Qatar.

Whilst achieving qualifications off the field, students will benefit from full-time training with UEFA qualified coaches throughout the week at Inver Park and play in competitive fixtures each Friday. First team manager, Tiernan Lynch is no stranger to the benefits of mixing football and education, having worked on a similar course at Belfast Met College before taking the reins at Inver Park.

He said, “This is a journey we have wanted to get involved with for a while now.

“That is to make the club full-time from the age of 16-years-old onwards and really provide pathways for our younger generation coming through.

“The opportunity to have a partnership with Liverpool Football College in association with Steven Gerrard speaks volumes for our journey.

“From the football perspective, we are now no different to any professional club in England or Scotland. Our boys will come in at 16 and follow the same model as our first team.

“They will come in on a day-to-day basis and train the same way, eat the same way and have the same strength and conditioning sessions. That will give them a huge lift up in trying to get into the first team set-up.

“It now also gives us a chance to genuinely look young players in the eye and say we can give them a pathway into full-time football, from our Academy onwards.

“Another big advantage of this is linking educational opportunities as a pathway to fall back on, because we know not everyone can make a living out of playing football. We feel this course offers the best preparation on and off the pitch.”

For more information or to apply, contact yourfuture@llsonline.uk.

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