Posted by SCLedu on 20.02.20
We spoke with Neil Cassar, Chief Executive of Hampshire FA, about his thoughts on the new partnership and what it can offer keen and enthusiastic 16-18-year olds.
With over 15 years’ experience in innovating education, SCL are delighted to be partnering with Hampshire FA to deliver the Sport and Educational Development Programme at their facilities at Stoneham Lane Football Complex.
Can you tell us a bit about Hampshire FA?
Hampshire FA are the governing body for football in the county and have a proud legacy dating back over 130 years. Working closely with The FA on their National Game Strategy, we aim to use the power of football to open opportunities for all.
What facilities does Hampshire FA offer students for both their education and training?
Both the education and football elements of the programme will be held at the prestigious new facility at the Stoneham Lane Football Complex, which opened in autumn 2019.
There are fantastic indoor and outdoor spaces, including a stadia pitch and two super sizes community pitches which are considered the largest in Europe.
Our classrooms are fully modern and they’ve got all the display technology you’d expect to see in a modern room such as widescreen TV and HDMI connection, full Wi-Fi access. The classrooms are brand new and they’ve only been opened within the last 2 months.
We’ve got three hubs across the county, one in Basingstoke, one in Havant and the site at Stoneham where there’s potential for work experience for all of the students.
We’ve also got a full Café area at Stoneham, so students have the option to remain on site for lunch.
Why did you feel the need to offer a Sport and Education Development Programme with SCL?
We are committed to providing opportunities and developing young people.
We feel this programme is unique in that it will be the only programme in the country to offer bespoke football opportunities not limited to only player but to encompass coaching, medical, refereeing and safeguarding education and also work experience opportunities across our community hub networks.
This is going to be a very different offer to the standard club environment.
What are you hoping to achieve by running this programme?
All of us at Hampshire FA want to increase opportunities for young people to participate in the game of football but more importantly, we want to open up pathways to continue their development beyond the life of the programme, both on and off the pitch.
If I was 16 and I was coming out of school thinking, ‘what am I going to do?’, the opportunity to do something like this, I would imagine would be most young footballers dream.
How do you see the partnership with SCL continuing in the future?
I think this is only the start because I think there’s masses of potential to further develop this in terms of developing a similar academy for referring.
There’re also possibilities to open this academy up to female players in the future too.
What would you say to encourage a young person to join the programme?
This course allows you to stay active, you can be involved in playing a good standard of Football, you can come out with qualifications and it’ll put you in a really good position to follow your pathway whether that is going to be in coaching, in playing, administration, business development, fitness and more.
There’re so many opportunities that students can come out with. There’s a whole range of skillsets that allow students to determine what career path they want to go down.
We can help highlight that with the students and then offer a bespoke approach to each of them.
To find out more about the programmes Hampshire FA run with SCL or if you know someone aged 16-18 years old who would like to apply for the programme, please visit the Hampshire FA Course Information Page.