Preston North End Community and Education Trust and Preston’s College have signed an agreement to continue the Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence post-16 education partnership for the next ten years.
Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence is an innovative education partnership between Preston’s College and Preston North End Community and Education Trust, allowing students studying a Diploma in Sport to compete regionally and nationally alongside their studies. Teams represent both organisations by playing in EFL Community and Education Football Alliance League weekly fixtures, against other club community organisations.
After a successful first year, with two teams winning their respective EFL CEFA leagues and students creating excellent work on their course, it has been agreed that the partnership will continue, allowing Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence to further develop as a leading provider in sports education and competition.
Young people enrolled on the programme study modules focusing on multiple disciplines within the sporting industry, while practical learning also allows learners to put their education into practice by accessing unique work experience opportunities in sport from both PNECET and and Preston’s College.
PNECET Chair of Trustees Kevin Abbott said: “Post-16 education is a programme that is really key to our operations and is one that we are very keen to continue to develop.
“The combined power of the Preston North End brand and the facilities at Preston’s College, will really benefit both parties going forward.
“Students who are enrolled at Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence also have the opportunity to take part in various work placements within the sports industry, allowing them to gain valuable, practical experience.”
PNECET Head of Education Liam Sealey said the partnership will contribute to the Trust working towards its strategy.
He said: “A key aim for PNECET is to provide an education pathway for everyone to achieve their goals.
“The football aspect is something we’re really proud of. We have experienced tutors who are all UEFA qualified. We’ve also got FA tutors and ex-professional footballers who make up our coaching team.
“We’re giving students not only the opportunity to develop their skills and improve, we’re also giving them an opportunity that is exclusive and unique to football clubs.”
Jenna Salthouse has been enrolled on the PNECET education programme for the past two years and in the 2019/20 academic year – the first under the Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence partnership banner – she captained the women’s team to EFL CEFA success.
“We put a lot of hard work into it, it has been a tough year, but it feels nice to get the reward.
“I have a passion for sport. I really love playing football and it’s something I’ve done since I was young. It’s allowed me to widen my opportunities and horizons of what I want to do in the future and I feel like this was the best thing to do for me to get into sport.”
Simon Nixon, Executive Director of Resources at Preston’s College, added: “Working collaboratively, to use the strengths of the two organisations to put together what we do, offers valuable opportunities to the Preston community. There are many work placements available, providing real insight into a career within the sports sector.”
Looking to future expansion and development of Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence, Preston’s College Head of School for Sport Sam McKenna said:
“The ambition is to become a centre of sporting excellence across a diverse range of sports. We are really well known for football and we really want to be known for other sporting successes. The ten year partnership affords ample opportunities to successfully do this.”
School leavers can study a Diploma in Sport and play in the EFL Community and Education Football Alliance league alongside their studies by enrolling at Preston’s Centre of Sporting Excellence.