The start of Nelson and Colne College’s new academic year has kicked off in style for aspiring footballers who have been selected for the new Burnley FC Shadow Squad programme.

The College is working in partnership with Burnley Football Club to deliver the two-year innovative education course, which provides students with the opportunity to gain invaluable practical experience while also completing a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. The squad will also obtain an FA Level 1 Coaching qualification.

Head coach Chris Andrews said: “The idea of this programme is to bridge the gap between local football and academy football. We have picked the best talent from the local area and are offering them the opportunity to gain exposure to the professional game.

“Football and education are working hand in hand to give Nelson and Colne College students a holistic experience.”

The course will also provide the most talented individuals with the opportunity to trial, train and undertake work placements with Burnley FC.

There are still opportunities for 16 to 18-year-olds with five GCSEs at C grade or above, including Maths and English, to join the programme.

Head of Sport Charlie Moss said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their football skills while also gaining qualifications.

“Those involved with the programme now have the chance to progress into higher education or employment in areas such as sports coaching, sports development, leisure management, coaching and instructing of specialist disciplines, and we look forward to being a part of their journey.

“If you are worried you have not got the grades, still give us a ring as there may still be an available route into the squad.”

Students on the course are already benefitting from Nelson and Colne College’s 3G training pitch and they have all been given £200 worth of training and match kit for free.

For more information contact 01282 440209.