The Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund has helped expand a London football education programme and offered more than 20 disadvantaged young people a springboard into work or further education.
Street League delivers football and education programmes to 16 - 25 year old NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) groups, offenders and substance users.
“The sole aim of The Academy is to accelerate participants’ progression into sustainable employment, mainstream education & training,” Sally says.
The Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund has provided a 75% subsidy for four academies to be staged across London. Managed by the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund provides Londoners with up to 75% off the cost of training in exchange for them volunteering in their local community.
Sally says Street League recruited 59 young people for the first Academy in October through channels such as Job CentrePlus and the probation service. North Londoner Tony Young, 20, was approached about the course after attending the Street Football sessions.
“I was going for about four job interviews a week but not getting anywhere so I thought I’d see what the Academy could do for me,” he says.
Over eight weeks, Tony and the other participants attended workshops in employability, health and nutrition and gained qualifications in community sports leadership, first aid and coaching. They then committed to 20 hours of volunteering their skills in their community.
“The best thing about the course was learning interview techniques and CV writing skills, which I never learned at school,” he says.
After graduating from the course, Tony was offered a coaching apprenticeship at Street League. He now spends his day coaching young people just like him: “I used to have no idea what I wanted to do. Now I’ve got new skills and a new career helping people and giving back to my community.”
An impressive 23 of the 40 who completed the October Academy programme have progressed to further education or sustainable employment, supported by Street League’s progressions staff. Sally is confident the young people who complete the funded Academies in February, June and October 2011 and February 2012 will have similar success.
“The Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund and the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure have helped us expand our structured football and education programme across London and engage a greater number of young unemployed people through the power of football.”