SCL Education & Training have extended their partnership with the award-winning Millwall Community Trust (MCT) as the two organisations strive to empower the next generation through a unique football and education scholarship.

The two-year programme, which is designed for 16-18 year-old male and females, gives students the opportunity to complete a range of qualifications including a BTEC Level 3 in Sport as well as the chance to showcase their footballing talent under the guidance of UEFA licensed coaches.

Set to embark on their fifth academic year together, SCL and the Lions have helped students realise their potential, including 19-year-old striker Ella Rutherford who has gone on to represent England Under-19s. More recently, Malik Solebo has played a part in Cray Wanderers’ 2018/19 Bostik South East title-winning season, while goalkeeper Charlie Petrucci has earned himself a university scholarship after graduating from the programme this summer.

Last year the programme also spread its wings to sunnier climbs, linking up with FC Puerto Del Carmen of Lanzarote for an exciting arrangement which saw 40 players make the trip from the Canary Islands to the Millwall Community Academy.

Developing their footballing skills coupled with enhancing their cultural experience in London, the boys embarked on a trip to the 02 Academy as well as enjoying a stadium tour of The Den before walking out onto the pitch ahead of the Lions’ Championship match against Leeds United.

This lay the foundations for a more permanent link, with six of the touring party impressing Millwall chiefs to secure a place on the full-time education and football development programme. Providing youngsters from Lanzarote with the opportunity to learn English and maths from highly qualified SCL educators, the link is an exciting development for both SCL and MCT to take their partnership to the next level.

The Academy take part in the East Division of the Youth Development League, which is sponsored by SCL and go head to head with the likes of West Ham United Chadwell Heath and Croydon FC Academy.

Lawrence Blair, SCL Partnership Director said: “The Millwall Community Trust is well-renowned for the work they do in the local community and I’m delighted that we have extended our partnership with them.

“It’s great to see the many success stories coming out of the programme, which not only sees students excelling on the football pitch, but also enables youngsters to flourish in other areas of employment.

“I’m really proud of the work that we are doing with Millwall and I’m looking forward to strengthening our partnership as we enter an exciting phase in our journey with them.”

Delighted with the positive impact that the programme is having on the lives of youngsters in south London, MCT Interim Chief Executive Sean Daly said: “Football is the hook for youngsters to join the programme, but with the excellent support of SCL’s education provision, the programme has really taken off and it has allowed students the opportunity to fulfil their potential both on and off the pitch.

“Students on the course have the opportunity to go on to higher education, apprenticeships, employment or further their career in football. There really are no boundaries to what they can achieve and we’re proud to help youngsters on the programme follow their dreams.”

There has never been a more exciting time to join the Youth Development League.

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