West London College has launched a new Professional Rugby Academy with Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club. The first of its kind in London, the Academy will provide young people with the opportunity to study whilst playing rugby.
The Rugby Academy, which is open to 16-19-year-olds, was launched as part of a Borough-wide community event at the Ealing Trailfinders v Doncaster Knights Greene King Championship match. It joins established Sports Academies in Football, Boxing, Basketball and Futsal at West London College.
The Rugby Academy programme combines full-time training with RFU coaches in a professional environment at Ealing Trailfinders alongside studying for a vocational qualification at West London College. Upon completion of the programme, students will receive a nationally recognised qualification, which allows them to progress to university or employment. They will also be able to apply for a professional rugby contract with the Senior Academy at Ealing Trailfinders.
Liam Wild, Curriculum Manager at West London College, said: “We are extremely proud to have launched this new partnership with Ealing Trailfinders. It is the only professional rugby club academy to be linked with an educational programme in London and we are excited to develop it with the RFU coaches at the Club.
“West London College is renowned for its Sports Academies. We firmly believe that the new Rugby Academy will become the best in the country and will help students achieve further qualifications and the opportunity to pursue a rugby career.”
Ealing Trailfinders is currently the 14th best rugby team in England. Since being taken over by Mike Gooley in 1999, they have risen from National Three South to the top of the Greene King IPA Championship. The Club is run by over 20 staff, ranging from rugby coaches to psychologists. The extensive coaching on offer includes expert throwing, kicking and scrum coaches as well as the backs, forwards and skills coaches.
As well as vocational study, all students on a Sports Academy receive a minimum of 10 hours of training per week. They also have access to a strengthening and conditioning gym.
To be eligible to be part of a Sports Academy, students must:
- Be aged 16-18 when the course starts
- Be enrolled on a full-time course at West London College (Football Academies must enrol on a Sports and Fitness course but Basketball, Boxing, Rugby and Futsal Academy students can enrol on any full-time course
- Attend a trial and pass it