Ayr United Football Academy prides itself in taking care of our young players and helping them to build a career path for the future. The Academy Board of Directors decided that they wanted to place another building block in the career pathway that it was able to offer to all of its talented young footballers by integrating further education into the Youth Academy programme.
The harsh facts of life are that only a small minority of the players make the grade as professional footballers, whether that is with Ayr United FC or any other club. It was with this in mind that the Academy embarked on the development of an education programme that would allow those players interested to study for a career outwith the professional game.
The Academy recognised that the introduction of a college course would achieve two objectives. Firstly, the players would benefit from full time education which would add to their CV when looking for future employment; and also as the course would be football based, it would also serve as an ideal platform for players to concentrate on their fitness and football skills, thus giving them a better chance to impress and gain selection for the senior club.
The Academy was also keen to ensure that the course provided a holistic education rather than just a specific football education.
Ayr United Football Academy is in partnership with Ayrshire College who offer the course of NC Sport and Fitness – Football (Level 5). The course is open to students, including non-Academy players, with football ability including girls, and a place on the course is subject to interview and a football practical skills assessment.
In the 2014/15 session, the students will attend Ayrshire College (Kilmarnock Campus) on two days per week. On the morning of the third day, students will attend Ayrshire College (Ayr Campus) and in the afternoon will undertake football training and practical sessions led by football club coaches in parallel with the Ayr United players and under the scrutiny of the Ayr United Manager.
These sessions are also attended by the HNC and HND Academy players.
With the attendance by a number of first team players the Academy students are able to train alongside the professionals that they aspire to become.
Students can progress to Advanced Sport and Fitness (level 6), HNC Coaching and Developing Sport and HNC Fitness, Health and Exercise. Students can enter at HNC level depending on academic achievement but most students to date have progressed from the NC stage. Students who have been successful at the HNC stage have then the opportunity to progress to the HND courses in Applied Sports and Exercise, Coaching and Developing Sport and Fitness, Health and Exercise.
Since the start of the partnership with Ayrshire College many of the students across the various course categories have been Academy players, Academy coaches or ex Academy players.