Two of the North East’s leading education and skills providers have extended a unique partnership which will give hundreds of young people greater access to qualifications, sports and employment opportunities.
In 2021, Sunderland College teamed up with Foundation of Light to support the charity’s Football and Futsal Scholarships through a dual-career pathway which combines full-time study with comprehensive coaching programme while representing Sunderland AFC in national leagues and prestigious international tournaments.
Each Scholarship mirrors the ethos of professional football academies to provide talented young footballers with the best education and opportunities on and off the pitch, supported by the state-of-the-art facilities and coaching programmes.
Student-athletes can follow bespoke academic pathways at the college’s Bede and City campuses, with a choice of technical and vocational qualifications ranging from Sports Coaching and Development and Sport and Exercise Sciences to Engineering and Business, A-Levels, or a mix of both.
They also train under the guidance of UEFA and FA-qualified coaches at world-class venues across the city, including the Foundation’s Beacon of Light, Sunderland College’s Sports Academy, and Downhill Football Hub, with access to bespoke strength and conditioning with nationally renowned coach, Martin Nugent, in a state-of-the-art facility at Bede Campus.
On the pitch, students don SAFC’s famous red and white stripes to compete against development teams from Premier League giants such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton in the National Football Youth League and LNFS Futsal England League with the opportunity to take part in training camps across Europe and tournaments such as the Dallas Cup.
This summer, students will be heading to prestigious UK and USA universities, progressing to Sunderland College’s higher education courses, onto apprenticeships and into employment.
On the five-year partnership, Toni Rhodes, Principal of Sunderland College: “I am delighted that our two brilliant organisations have extended their partnership for the greater good of our city and wider region.
“Working together, we have already pooled our expertise and enhanced our curriculum offer to raise young people’s aspirations through sport and education and ensure their positive progression to higher level study or careers.”
Foundation of Light Managing Director, Jamie Wright, added: “Foundation of Light are delighted to extend our partnership with Sunderland College, who have been supportive in helping us achieve a real student-centered curriculum offer, combined with the outstanding football provision carried out by our coaches.
“The new dual career approach for our student athletes absolutely enhances the overall experience they will receive as part of this innovative partnership. We are excited to explore other areas of collaboration with Sunderland College across Education, Sport and Health and Wellbeing.”
The strategic partnership will bring the two organisations closer together and see a collaboration on several activities across sport, education, health and community projects to benefit people across the North East, with further details to be announced later this year.
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