Learners from the Preston Centre of Sporting Excellence have had the opportunity to train and play at St George’s Park, the national football centre for England’s football teams.
The Preston Centre of Sporting Excellence is a post-16 education partnership delivered by Preston North End Community and Education Trust [PNECET] and Preston College, providing high-quality technical education programmes at levels one to three, with courses tailored to sports coaching and sports science.
Alongside their studies, learners enrolled with the Centre of Sporting Excellence train twice a week, under the guidance of fully qualified coaches, and play in competitive fixtures against other professional clubs.
This week, though, learners had a change of setting – heading to the home of English football – were selected to form part of the delivery of a UEFA A Licence coaching course at St George’s Park.
Learners were coached by UEFA A Licence candidates before also having the opportunity to participate in a session which was especially delivered by the FA’s England national team U17 and U20 coaches.
Post-16 Curriculum Lead, Zach Clark, said: “It was a fantastic experience for our learners to visit St George’s Park and participate in high-quality football sessions with international standard coaches.
“Participating in an elite-level session and experiencing the value of these state-of-the-art facilities can motivate our learners to keep working hard, to pursue opportunities of this kind in the future in a working capacity, and perhaps even inspire them to look at a coaching career pathway and reaching this incredibly high level.
“Our learners have performed admirably on and off the pitch in the 2021/22 academic year, with our men’s A team actively competing to defend their EFL CEFA title, and this experience is a great reward for their efforts.
“We are committed to providing our learners with unique opportunities in sport and visiting the home of the England national team is sure to be one they will remember for a long time.”
Second year learner Logan de Klerk said: “I really enjoyed my time at St George’s Park as it gave me an opportunity to see the home of English football and use the elite facilities which have been used by so many professionals.
“It also meant I could participate in sessions led by top level coaches, and as someone who is aspiring to be a coach myself, this allowed me to see how to deliver sessions at a high standard.”
Kieran Houghton was also part of the group of learners who made the visit to St George’s Park, as a former post-16 learner who continues to study with PNECET as a Year Three top-up student on the BSC Hons degree in football coaching and administration, delivered in partnership with the University of South Wales and the EFL Trust.
He said: “It was a great opportunity to take part in very high standard coaching sessions from experienced UEFA A Licence candidates, with great technical information in order to improve me as a player and a coach.
“I can take this experience into my game and my studies as a coach on the university degree in order for me to develop myself and achieve my coaching badges to set myself up for a football coaching career. The facilities were also top class which was a privilege to play on.
“The tour around St. George's park was also a great experience to see where the England internationals are based on international duty and to see the elite facilities off the pitch available to them.”