From premier league footballers to gold medal winning Olympians – sports students at Telford College have been learning from the very best throughout 2019.
“This year has been our best yet,” says Ashley Bowler, learner manager for sport at the Haybridge campus.
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“Staff and students have worked hard to get the most out of a top-class curriculum, full of industry-linked experiences designed to develop students ready for the workplace.
“They have had some of the best sporting opportunities in the country, including special guest visits from former Olympians, interviews with premier league stars and work with local primary schools to develop coaching and leadership.
“For example, our second year sports students have also been delivering PE curriculum activities at Wrockwardine Wood School every Friday, which is giving them priceless experience.
“It’s part of a commitment to providing students with a first-class experience that is rich with ‘hands on’ assessments, trips and events.
“Student feedback has been really positive, and achievement rates are on the up – in fact, they are on course to be the best yet.”
Telford College’s partnership with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC has opened up some amazing opportunities for students, with access to first team players, and regular visit to the Wolves
Last month they were at the Wolves training ground at Compton Park for an exclusive Q&A with the club’s premier league stars, including club captain Conor Coady, Portuguese midfield maestro Joao Moutinho, and Adama Traore who scored both goals in a famous 2-0 Wolves win at Manchester City.
Tyla-Jo How-Richards, who plays for Shifnal Town Ladies, said: “We got to ask any question we wanted. The players were chatting normally with us – it was a great opportunity.”
Earlier in the year, the students also got to test their skills against the Wolves players when they took part in a friendly match in the college’s sports hall.
Jonny Warburton, senior education officer at Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation, said: “The courses run in partnership with Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation and Telford College are designed to shape and evolve individuals so they’re ready for successful careers in sports coaching.”
As a result of the link-up, Telford College’s male first team has been wearing the famous old Wolves gold and black and representing the club in the Community & Education Football Alliance, taking on the likes of Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Sheffield United, Birmingham City and Walsall.
The Community & Education Football Alliance is a competition run for club community organisations, featuring teams representing Premier League and English football league across the country.
And 40 Telford College students were also enlisted to help with the organisation of the national Premier League Primary Stars football competition for boys and girls across the 20 top division clubs, held at Wolves’ Molineux stadium.
One of the highlights of the Premier League Communities calendar, the yearly event allows hundreds of youngsters the chance to experience the thrill of being treated like a top-flight footballer.
The job of the Telford College students was to ensure the event ran smoothly, making sure each team was in position to play at the correct time, and had their photographs taken with the Premier League trophy.
Kyle Jordan, one of the students, said: “We were there as volunteers, but we were also getting observed as part of our unit where we have to work in a live sports event.
“The best part of the course has been the new units that have been brought in this year, I’ve really enjoyed training and training programming, nutrition and technical and tactical skills in sport.”
The 18-year-old, from Priorslee, has been recruited as a female football development officer, based at the Haybridge campus.
The former Hadley Learning Community student completed a level three extended diploma in sport at the college before securing the new apprenticeship position.
Maia has played football for several female teams across the county, including Oswestry, Telford, and most recently Albrighton. She beat off many other applicants for the post – including several of her classmates.
“I’m proud of myself for getting this opportunity – it’s the perfect start to my career in the sports industry,” she said.
Her role is in partnership with AOC Sport and the ECFA, the national governing body for football at further education colleges.
It involves helping to increase female football participation within the college and local community, with the potential to also get involved in campaigns at a national level.
It’s not just top football stars who have linked up with sports students this year. Gold medal-winning athlete and Olympian Daniel Caines also visited Telford College to deliver a motivational workshop.
The former world 400m indoor and European 4x400m relay champion spoke to students on the level three course, revealing how he had overcome many setbacks and debilitating injuries on the road to success – and urging students to have a clear vision of their own objectives, and goals.
Sharing family anecdotes, and the ups and downs of his career, he explained how, despite multiple setbacks, he didn’t give up.
“I had never won a race, so I told my father that I didn’t want to do it any more. He told me to think of five small things I could change to improve my performance.”
He rounded off his presentation by encouraging Telford College students to picture their objectives and goals, and think of small changes they could make in order to achieve success.
Student Jack Clubley-Brown said: “Daniel was really inspiring, and the workshop taught me that our only mistakes in life are our missed opportunities.”
Telford College also hosted a tri-golf tournament for local youngsters this summer as part of a scheme to promote competitive sport in a fun environment.
The event was organised by the Telford and Wrekin School Sports Partnership, as part of the School Games programme. A total of 16 primary schools took part, each bringing along two teams made up of students from years three to six.
Telford College is now enrolling for its level two and three sports courses, and will be holding an open event from 5pm on January 22. For more details about all of the sport courses, see www.telfordcollege.ac.uk/courses/full-time/sports