Partnership Announcement: Interview with Chester FC Community Trust

Posted by SCL Education Group on 09.01.20

Leading provider in sports education, SCL Education and Training have partnered with Chester FC Community Trust to deliver exciting opportunities to students in the local community. 

Delivering in partnership with Chester FC Community Trust, this education programme for 16-18-year-olds will see our dedicated tutors, curriculum managers, quality assessors, and operations support help young students gain academic qualifications alongside their enthusiasm for football.

With our mission to develop the next generation of sporting talent, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Chester FC Community Trust who already have ambitious plans of their own to expose their community to the endless possibilities a career in sports can offer. 

We sat down with Jim Green, Chief Executive, to discuss the prospects of the new partnership and what it’ll bring to the local community in Chester.

Can you give us a brief background of your experience in the sports industry?

I was one of the founding directors of Chester Football Club in 2010 and was part of the initial board that set the club up. 

I went off to become a sports journalist, which is my background, where I reported on Chester FC and other clubs. 

About 4 years ago, I went back to Chester FC to take over as Chief Executive of the community trust. We’re the charitable organisation of the club so we operate independently. We’ve got our own Trustees and our own staff members but obviously, we’re part of the football club family. 

I’ve been involved in sport in Chester, both football and rugby, for many years really and in various capacities from a player, coach to an administrator. 

I’m too old to play now but I’m looking to give something back by creating opportunities for local youngsters through this partnership.


Aside from yourself, who else is involved in Chester FC Community Trust?

It’s a fairly big football club, we play in the National League North and we’ve got full-time playing staff and a full-time management team. 

On the community side, there’s 12 of us, We’re a strong team of coaches with lots of experience at various levels. We’ve got UEFA B Coaches, FA Coaches, and FAW Coaches.


What sort of facilities does Chester FC Community Trust offer students for both education and training? 

This is really exciting - this programme is linked to a fantastic new development called King George V Sports Hub. 

It’s a £1.6 Million Sports Hub that we’re developing in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Work’s already started but obviously, it’s such a big project that the aim is to have it ready for September 2020, just in time for the new intake for this academy.

At the moment it’s a run-down playing field that suffers from a lack of investment and is underused and we’ve worked closely with the council over the last few years to transform the site into a thriving community sports hub. 

It’ll have 2 full-sized grass pitches, a new floodlit 3G pitch, there’s an existing pavilion there which will house the classroom and the education facilities and there’ll be a new clubhouse with social facilities and changing rooms.

It’s going to be a real top-class facility that we’re really excited about! 


How would these changes and developments positively impact students?

Students will have a fantastic chance to be based at the brand-new state of the art dedicated sport facility. 

It’s also right in the heart of Chester which is really important for us. 

The new venue will also support the work we do as a community trust with the community coaching we deliver. Students will have the possibility to get involved in that and gain practical work experience across a range of programmes. 

We currently have mini sessions for children as young as 3 and we have walk-in Football sessions where we’ve got guys who are 73 and still playing! 

We even have disability sessions, a mental health football programme, development centres for young male and female footballers so there’s a really broad spectrum of schemes that will all be housed at this facility. 

We think it’s a once in a generation opportunity for sport in Chester and the academy programme is really going to be a real central part of that. 


What made you decide to run the Sports Development Programme with SCL?

It’s something we’ve been looking at for around 3 years. We’ve been around and looked at other clubs to find out what they deliver and who they deliver with and we consistently heard positive things about SCL in terms of their professionalism, the support the offer to partners and also more importantly for students in terms of the quality of education. 

We thought this kind of programme was a good fit for us particularly keeping in mind the development of the new Sports Hub and as that comes to be it feels like this is the absolute right time to set the scheme up.

In terms of our dealings with SCL they’ve been exceptional. Their reputation is superb. You can see that from the number and of scale of their partners. 

Once we did some investigation and looked at the options, for us there was only ever going to be one option and that was SCL. 

At the moment there is a gap in provisions within Chester for 16-18-year old’s who are passionate about sport and want to work in that industry. They need to travel outside of the city. We think that it’s possibly a bit of a barrier and it may be putting people off from pursuing their dream. By addressing this, we think that we’re providing something that’s really fantastic for local youngsters.


What are the top 3 benefits of the programme are for students? 

The top 3 benefits would be that you’ll be working within a sporting organisation so if you’re passionate about sport and want to work in the world of sport (football or sport in general) there’s no better place to better develop your education. 

The possible options that it’ll present in terms of strengthening a CV, gaining work experience, gaining additional qualifications and the football opportunities are second to none.

The next best benefit I think would be the chance to be part of the first programme based at this amazing new facility, King George V Sports Hub, which is going to be an incredible asset to the city of Chester with top-class facilities.

A big selling point for us is the ability to provide work experience. So, if you’re a young person who is thinking that you would like to be a coach and move into the world of coaching, then we can provide all of that in house. 


What do you hope to achieve by running this programme?

For us, it’s about providing young people with the chance to gain a nationally recognised qualification and we want to supplement that by helping them gain FA Coaching and Refereeing qualifications. 

Alongside that, they’ll be able to gain practical work experience which I don’t think you can put a value on in terms of strengthening their CV and preparation for the world of work. 

Once they’ve completed their study programme, they’ll have the option to go off to university if they wish to pursue a degree or they’ll be fully prepared to go straight into the world of work, whether that be with us or elsewhere.

We think the pathways we can provide as a Football Clubs charitable organisation are really strong and we think that it’ll be exciting for young people in Chester.


How do you see the partnership with SCL continuing in the future?

We believe that this is the start of a really long term and mutually beneficial partnership for everybody concerned. We’re obviously familiar with SCL’s work and the way that their partnerships with other clubs have grown and developed over time and we want to replicate that. 

I think as the football club and community trust continue to grow, develop and progress that’ll create more schemes of this nature.

We’re really excited for it! 


What would you say to encourage a student to join the programme? 

I’d say that if you share our passion for Football or our passion for sport and believe that you’ve got the enthusiasm, skills, and energy to make a career in sport, this is a fantastic opportunity for you as a young person. 

You’ll gain a nationally recognised qualification, gain support in football-specific qualifications, gain practical work experience.

Upon completion of the programme, you’ll be in a really strong position to either move into the world of work, continue further study to go and fulfil your dreams in the world of sport. 

To find out more about the programmes Chester FC Community Trust run with SCL or if you know someone aged 16-18 years old who would like to apply for the programme, please head to the Chester FC Community Trust Course Information Page. 

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