WITH the new academic year approaching, Ayr United Football Academy (AUFA) and Kilmarnock College have once again joined together to provide students with the opportunity to enrol on a unique programme.
The partnership, which officially kicks off on September 3, will see a group of sports enthusiasts begin their studies on the football based NC Football and sports based HND Sports Coaching courses that form part of the College’s Curriculum Groups and also receive regular input from Academy employees.
Both organisations share the aim of arming attendees with the skills and qualifications needed for a fruitful future, and while the course is sport orientated, those involved are keen to ensure that it also gives knowledge and experience of a wide range of subjects – practical and educational – so that participants can go on to have a stable and fulfilling career, whether that be connected to the football and sporting industries or otherwise.
The partnership is entering its third year, and was a great success last session, with over 20 youngsters signing up for the NC, and similar numbers committing themselves to the HNC Coaching and Developing Sport, to which the Academy is also affiliated. AUFA’s commitment was evident by the fact that half of this intake comprised of their players.
Based at the Kilmarnock College Centre of Sporting Excellence in Townholm, students will work within the institution for two days per week in order to learn about the theoretical elements that they are required to master. Units undertaken discuss a variety of issues and will offer a multitude of life skills. These include Human Anatomy, Physiology and Physical Activities and Nutrition, Health and Wellbeing. There are also classes that centre around improving numeracy and IT competence.
In terms of their exposure to football and associated tasks, as well as being taught about coaching, the young people will also travel to Ayr to take part in training sessions. These will be supervised by Academy Coaches and the Ayr United FC Management team, Mark Roberts and Davie White. Classroom facilities will be located onsite, and the chance to be overseen by professionals proved to be particularly well received during the last run of the programme.
Already fully subscribed at both the NC and HNC level courses, this is a well-rounded endeavour that promises many progression routes and vocational prospects, such as employment in the leisure industry and sport, health and fitness sectors.
One of the stars of the 2011/2012 NC Sport and Fitness course, Sean Robertson, (pictured) was full of praise for this enterprise and for what the joint delivery brings.
Sean, who is now looking forward to studying on the HNC course, said:
“The emphasis placed on practical activity as well as more academic areas was something that I relished.
He was also keen to point out that the work experience posts offered by the Academy and other outlets is also vital in preparing the cohort for the world of work, adding:
“I would say that if you want to be a coach or a football player, then the course is probably one of the best things you can do. I like coaching and I like football, and seeing the smiling faces of younger kids that you are helping just makes me feel better.”
Bernadette McGuire, Assistant Principal of Learning and Teaching at Kilmarnock College, added: “We are delighted to be working in association with Ayr United Football Academy.
“The Academy serves as the perfect educational platform for young players looking to concentrate on their fitness and football skills in partnership with Ayr United.
“The course supports the aspirations of the football club and the College helping young people achieve a qualification that will take them into a sports-related career.”
Report by Cheri Burns