From education to employment

Banbury and Bicester College launch new Football Academy with Banbury United Football Club

Activate Learning are working in partnership with Banbury United Football Club on a new programme that will see students learning and practicing at the club’s training grounds.

Banbury and Bicester College football students will now become the Banbury United Football Academy, as part of their 16-18-year-old programme. 

This partnership introduces two new collaborative full-time football programmes, including Level 1 and Level 2 diplomas in Banbury. 

Mike Ford, Banbury United Football Club Manager and sports teacher at Banbury and Bicester College, said:

“These one-year programmes are designed for anyone passionate about pursuing a career in football or in the sports industry in general.

“We will guide enthusiastic and aspiring young footballers on their journey as student athletes, as they prepare for post-secondary studies and a future in football or beyond. 

“During the programme we will work collaboration with the football club to provide professional training which will be designed to develop the young athlete alongside academic support for those working towards their BTEC qualifications.”

The academy at Banbury United Football Club welcomes all prospective students with an interest in football, at any ability. They are keen to attract female and disabled students, as well as young male learners.

Phil Lines, Banbury United Football Club Chairman said:

“Banbury United Football Club is owned by a Community Benefit Society and, as such, is owned by all its members. Our aim is to play a full part in our local community. 

“We are delighted to be an Activate Learning partner and in addition to providing facilities, we will sponsor a classroom at Banbury and Bicester College. It will be painted in the club’s colours and feature club memorabilia. The students will be very much part of the club.”

As part of the programme at Banbury United Football Club, students will attend coaching masterclasses and lessons one day a week at Banbury and Bicester College.

Work experience will also be included, with students running weekly coaching sessions at local schools and volunteering at school football camps. They will be equipped with first aid qualifications and DBS checks so that they can contribute to these primary school sports programmes.  

Students will learn while playing football and will cover anatomy, physiology, nutrition, psychology, coaching and fitness testing and training. 

The academy offers training sessions three times a week with qualified coaches at Banbury United Football Club. Students will also have the opportunity to play in weekly matches for the team in the Tactic League.

Nancy Buckley, Business Engagement Specialist at Banbury and Bicester College said:

“These programmes at Activate Learning are crucial in helping students achieve their semi-professional and professional sporting aspirations. They ensure a positive exit route – moving on to university, work or apprenticeships. 

“Highlight alumni over the years for the education group have included Gareth McCleary (Reading Football Club) and Matt Taylor (Bristol City), both of whom are currently playing in the championship.”

Banbury and Bicester College will host a Taster Day at Banbury United Football Club grounds on 11 May at 10am-12pm and welcome anyone interested to come down on the day to learn more about the programme. 

Banbury Charities have generously donated £2,450 towards the cost of a starter kit for the first 15 students who enrol on the programmes. This kit will include their match kit, training kit, backpack and football. The sum also includes a full set of away kits for the programme too.


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