From education to employment

Championship club Queens Park Rangers invests in apprenticeships with Oxford-based Ignite Training

Queens Park Rangers is investing in the power of apprenticeships by providing staff with the option to study a vocational qualification as part of their full-time employment.

The EFL Championship club has partnered with Oxford-based registered training provider Ignite Training to deliver its Level 5 Operations Manager course, which is equivalent to obtaining a foundation degree.

Three members of staff in the club’s academy – including the Head of Sports Science and Medicine and a Senior Professional Development Coach – have enrolled with a view to enhancing their already established leadership skillsets and knowledge.

Alex Carroll, Academy Director at Queens Park Rangers, said apprenticeships allow professional clubs to tailor qualifications which can assist with personal and professional development both on and off the pitch.

“One of our key objectives is to provide an environment for our staff and players where they can develop and become the best version of themselves,” said Alex.

“We’re in a results driven industry, but at the same time it’s essential we support individuals so they can thrive either with or away from Queens Park Rangers in the future.

“That means ensuring our workforce is equipped with the very latest industry skills and knowledge which helps our Academy produce outstanding talent and supports players to reach their true potential.

“Apprenticeships facilitate this process and fulfil our commitment to providing development opportunities for our hard-working team so they can carry out their roles to the greatest effect.”

The Level 5 qualification takes between 12 and 18 months to complete and educates learners how to understand key business development tools, lead multiple and remote teams and how to approach partner and stakeholder relationships.

Education is delivered both remotely and in-person via group and one-to-one sessions with QPR able to access funding to enrol staff onto the programme which is suitable for learners of all ages. 

Alex added: “We’re a levy paying club, which means we can unlock funds which pay for apprenticeships that are tailored to our setup and delivered by industry experts.

“Our staff showed a real enthusiasm for enhancing their already established leadership skills, which is why we decided to partner with Ignite Training.

“Blending on-the-job development with group and one-to-one sessions both in-person and online means we can mould our team into one aligned unit. Many people associate apprenticeships with people who are fresh out of school, but this isn’t the case at all.

“Apprenticeships can be adapted to suit employees of all ages and experiences, and we’d strongly recommend other professional and semi-professional clubs to consider investing in vocational qualifications.”

Statistics issued by the Government show the number of people starting an apprenticeship in the most recent academic year increased by 8.6% to 349,190 learners.

Of those starters, less than one quarter (22.2%) were aged 19 or younger when they enrolled. The data challenges stereotypes associated with vocational qualifications that they are for school leavers only.

Justin Merritt, Ignite Training CEO, said modern-day apprenticeships serve all sectors and are available to people of all ages and experiences.

“Contrary to belief, apprenticeships can be studied by both new and existing members of staff,” said Justin. “For levy-paying organisations like Queens Park Rangers, funds are available to access these courses meaning education is cost-effective.

“Investing in apprenticeships is proven to benefit both the employer and employee by increasing productivity, improving the quality of service and supporting staff retention.

“It’s for these reasons we’re calling on more clubs like QPR to embrace their potential and help our goal to develop a fit workforce for the future.”

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