College Sport: Shining a light on the FA Women’s Football Apprentice programme 

The 2019-20 AoC Women’s Football Apprentices

Sporty football enthusiasts at colleges across England have continued to show that the opportunities for growth and development at Further Education level – and the positive outcomes that that can have for others too – are much greater than those gained simply through study.



Real-life examples of this are nicely shown through the experiences of personal growth and individual journeys of FA Women’s Football Apprentices that have been showcased in a new report highlighting the impact of the 2019/20 programme. 

The report charts the journey of four apprentices and the marked differences in their skills, behaviour and knowledge by the end of the programme.

Sarah Nickless, National Women’s Football Development Officer, said: “The FA Women’s Football Apprentice Programme has afforded the opportunity to find, support and create role models who are the leaders of today, not just the future.

“We know the programme is a catalyst in the development of our apprentices as people and we’re thrilled to be able to share this report showcasing the journeys we’ve been privileged to watch.” 

The Women’s Football Apprentice Programme in partnership with The FA began in 2017 and has trained a total of 37 apprentices to increase female participation and boost their employability skills for a future career in football.

A key focus is on developing personal behaviours via a bespoke personal development compass and behaviour framework. The apprentices have access to a varied Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme including webinars, an online hub and training days, which enables them to develop the personal skills necessary for a successful career. 

The information in the report is a mixture of numerical data and quotes from the apprentices themselves through self-assessed confidence statements taken at certain points in their journey. 

Football Development Manager Alice Kempski said: “We are delighted with the impact the programme is having on the women and girls’ game, but we are particularly pleased with the individual journeys the apprentices have been on.

“Often, we find the stories in sport are lost to quantitative data, which only shows one side of the coin. As highlighted in this impact report, we have a moment to shine a light on four of our apprentices who have undoubtedly changed and supported the lives of others through the creation and delivery of football opportunities.” 

Courtney Read, for example, says the programme has taught her to communicate effectively with the people around her so she is seen as a leader in women’s football.

The programme continues to evolve, with a new training provider in place for this season. The new cohort of apprentices have been recruited as part of The FA’s Women’s Football 2020-24 strategy, and are employed by colleges for 22 months, working through Weston College and AoC Sport.

More information on the current programme can be found here.


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