College teams up with Gateshead FC to create football stars of the future

From LtoR (Back row) Gateshead FC first team coach, Micky Cummins; Gateshead FC chairman and chief executive, Richard Bennett (Front row) Gateshead College student, Jamal Fyfield; former Gateshead College student and Gateshead FC midfielder, Adam Wrightson; and Gateshead College student, James Nelson. 

Gateshead FC has teamed up with the North East’s top performing college to develop home grown, talented players and coaches of the future.

The unique new Gateshead Football Club Scholarship programme -  which will see talented students play football for the youth team and first team squads while getting industry recognised qualifications in playing or coaching - was kicked off at a pre-season training session held at Gateshead International Stadium on Tuesday (July 26). The training session provided school leavers signed up to study at Gateshead College from September, their first opportunity to train alongside Gateshead FC’s first team.

The programme is a progression route for any budding young football players or sport coaches who study full time on any Gateshead College programme.

Players will study and spend two years with Gateshead College’s Men’s Football Development Centre before being talent spotted for the Gateshead Football Club Scholarship programme where they will study one day per week at the college and work with the club for four days. 

Tracy Ashcroft, assistant principal at Gateshead College said: “This new programme provides an amazing new progression option for our current and new students. It has been designed to open up football as a long term career option as it equips young people with qualifications and experience to make them work-ready with the skills and aptitudes that employers look for. As it’s underpinned by a professional and successful club, it makes building a successful career in the industry a more realistic and attainable option.”

Students can choose to focus on playing or coaching, with each option offering a broader insight into the industry.

The playing route provides skills and knowledge in employment, awareness in active leisure and learning; training and playing with Gateshead FC and work experience in the football industry to gain knowledge of football administration and all aspects of running a successful club.

In addition to the skills and knowledge in employment, awareness in active leisure and learning, the coaching route offers an FA coaching qualification and work experience at Gateshead FC with the professional team and schools and community teams.

At the end of the programme, students could sign a professional contract with Gateshead FC or another professional club while leaving college with nationally recognised qualifications and the skills and experience to succeed in a rewarding career in the world of football.

Adam Wrightson, 18 from Consett, a former college student and now a midfielder for Gateshead Football Club’s 1st team said: ““My first two years at the college were very enjoyable – as well as doing my work as normal, I had the chance to play a lot of football. Once I started my third year, I knew the opportunity would come for someone at the club to take a look at me. I really knuckled down, and since Malcolm Crosby – the previous first-team manager – gave me my debut, I have never looked back. Micky Cummins has been a massive help, but the same applies to all of the coaches I worked with during my time at the college.”

This new programme strengthens Gateshead College’s sport education which already includes the Men’s Football Development Centre, the most successful college football team in the country with 12 consecutive league wins.

Richard Bennett, owner at Gateshead FC, said: “We are delighted to continue our long-term relationship with Gateshead College. The launch of our new partnership underlines the aspirations of all key stakeholders and provides defined pathways leading to quality career opportunities in professional sport. The two parties will work closely with one another as we look to build on the success we have enjoyed in recent years.”

School leavers interested in signing up to study and play football at Gateshead College can visit Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport to take part in a training session from 1.30pm-3.30pm on Wednesday August 3, 10 or 17.

To sign up for a session, visit www.gateshead.ac.uk/events/gateshead-fc or call 0191 490 2447