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It was smiles all round on Friday evening as students at the Yorkshire Cricket College celebrated their graduation following two years of hard work, which saw them combine their love of cricket with SCL’s education programme.

Hosted in the Executive Suite at Emerald Headingley Stadium, students and members of their family came together to celebrate the end of the study programme, before watching Yorkshire Vikings against Worcestershire Rapids in the Vitality Blast.

It capped off a fantastic year for the students, who last month, were treated to a tour of South Africa where they played a series of matches against local opposition as well as taking part in several training sessions.

SCL first teamed up with the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) official charity and community arm of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 2017 to form the Yorkshire Cricket College, giving 16 to 18-year-olds the opportunity to gain a BTEC level three extended diploma in sport, alongside representing the college against other institutions across the country.  

Completion of the course gives graduates the springboard to progress into further education, apprenticeships or immediate employment.

Speaking to SCL TV at the graduation ceremony, Yorkshire Cricket Foundation Education Manager and Head of the college, Nick Robinson said: “We’ve just finished our second year as a college and this evening celebrates the hard work of our first graduates from the programme.

“A lot of the students have already decided on their next steps, with some going on to university, while others have apprenticeships lined up and it is testament to their dedication and effort throughout the course - it’s great to see the impact that the college has had on their lives.

“We’re not looking for the next Joe Root or Jonny Bairstow. We want to use cricket as a vehicle to motivate the students, and for us the priority is the education because it gives them a springboard to realise their career ambitions.”

Paying tribute to SCL as the Yorkshire Cricket College education provider, Robinson added: “We knew that we needed to get the education side of the programme right when we were first developing the concept of the college, and it is clear to see that SCL have been a fantastic partner throughout the programme.

“It’s really important to get the balance right between sport and education to allow the students to go out onto the field and enjoy their cricket.

“In terms of the cricket, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have Pro Coach as our coaching and delivery team, particularly given that we have some talented cricketers who just want to get better.

“Pro Coach have the knowledge and experience when it comes to developing the students from a cricketing point of view as well as from mental and physical aspect too.”

SCL Managing Director Brad Rushton, who was in attendance at the ceremony is proud of the programme, which has gone from strength-to-strength at the state of the art Headingley Stadium.

He said: “The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation have done an incredible job since the college was set up in 2017 and they acknowledge that the parents and students really had to put their trust in us from day one.

“You can see the results of the programme from the feedback of the students and parents/guardians and everyone is really pleased with the way the programme has been delivered.

“The students have achieved academically, but they’ve also had the opportunity to develop their cricketing skills alongside the elite in the game as well as the chance to increase their cultural awareness in South Africa.”

The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation is one of two county cricket clubs that SCL works with, Hampshire CCC the other top level cricket team on SCL’s growing portfolio.

Rushton added: “It’s our intension to grow the programme into all of the cricket foundations and the relationship that we have with Yorkshire has been a real platform for us.

“We’ve had the opportunity to meet with all of the cricket counties during the course of the two years we’ve been with Yorkshire, and for 2019/20 we’ll be strengthening our partnership with Hampshire CCC and beyond that we’re looking to expand our cricketing provision.”

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