Burnley FC in the Community is pleased to announce that it has entered is fifth academic year in partnership with the Nelson and Colne College Group.

Initially confirmed as the Clarets charity’s Principal College Partner in 2014, the relationship has proved to be a lasting and purposeful pairing, incorporating established programmes such as the Shadow Youth Team, as well as more recent developments including apprenticeships, traineeships and employability initiatives.

The partnership’s flagship programme is the Shadow Youth Team; a combined football and academia BTEC that offers talented players aged 16-18 the chance to continue into higher education whilst gaining practical football experience.

Following a similar format to nationwide football academies, players train daily with UEFA licensed Burnley FC in the Community coaches and play on a competitive basis whilst completing a BTEC Sport Level 3 Extended Diploma with the support and guidance of highly skilled teaching staff at Nelson and Colne College.

Across five years of the partnership, 408 young people have completed the programme, with a further 32 completing the female equivalent – the Girls’ Post-16 Academy. Last season, alongside their BTEC qualification, 28 Shadow Youth Team graduates secured their FA Level 1 Football Coaching award. Players have also progressed onto impressive destinations both in the UK and overseas including university, employment, semi-professional and professional football.

With a shared aim to expand the horizons of disadvantaged young people, the partnership has more recently evolved to incorporate employability opportunities. Burnley FC in the Community now delivers a bespoke programme, developed in partnership with Nelson and Colne College, from the charity’s Leisure Box community leisure facility in Brierfield. Mentoring participants with low attainment levels in maths, English and ICT, participants are supported with studies away from the traditional college environment, with qualification accreditation provided by Lancashire Adult Learning, a part of the Nelson and Colne College Group. 73 participants have taken part in the course to date, 90% of participants have achieved a qualification and 75% have moved onto a higher education course in the same subject.

In addition, Burnley FC in the Community now operate the sports facilities at Nelson and Colne College, inclusive of an indoor sports hall, multi-use games area and outdoor 3G pitch.

Neil Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Burnley FC in the Community said: “Our partnership with Nelson and Colne College is our standard bearer for working collaboratively with other organisations in our community. One of the very first we established, it remains one of our most important and valued we have as an organisation.

“It’s been fabulous to enjoy another year of success and to see how the relationship continues to reap new and exciting rewards.”

Amanda Melton, Principal and Chief Executive of The Nelson and Colne College Group said: “The relationship that we enjoy with Burnley FC in the Community definitely makes it one of our premier partnerships and we hold it in the highest regard.

“I’m thrilled to see what began as a small cohort on the Shadow Youth Team has grown into a programme where hundreds of young people from across the North West region have enjoyed the benefits of its success, and that the offer now supports increasing numbers of aspiring females through the Girls’ Academy. What’s more, the opportunities and scope continue to broaden, and I’m excited to see our partnership progress further over the coming years.”

The highly successful Shadow Youth Team programme and Girls’ Post-16 Academy will also be available at Accrington and Rossendale College from September 2020. Students can apply now.

To find out more information about Burnley FC in the Community and the Nelson & Colne College Group visit www.burnleyfccommunity.org or www.nelson.ac.uk.