A talented soccer star has landed a professional full-time contract to play for Gateshead Football Club thanks to a productive partnership between the club and Gateshead College.
Midfield playmaker Elliot Forbes from Ryton will ply his trade for the Vanarama National League side, which is looking to strengthen its ranks ahead of the new season in August.
The nineteen-year-old signed a professional contract after completing a two-year BTEC in sports science at Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport, followed by a one-year scholarship – a pioneering football development programme run by the college in partnership with Gateshead FC.
The programme allows students to play or coach at the football club whilst studying for nationally recognised qualifications and developing skills needed to either become an elite footballer or forge a successful career in other areas of the sports industry. As well as getting the chance to showcase their talents on the pitch, students also gain valuable experience of what it takes to run a football club, acquiring transferrable skills in areas such as football administration, finance and people management.
This builds on their knowledge gleaned from the BTEC qualification, which covers key disciplines including sports performance, strength and conditioning, diet and sports psychology.
Elliot said: “I’m delighted to have secured a professional contract with Gateshead FC. The BTEC qualification and development programme were great preparation and have given me the tools to progress in my football career. Going down this path has enabled me to learn from experienced sports professionals and get a more rounded view of what’s it’s like to work in this industry.”
Gary Middleton, head coach at Gateshead College’s Men’s Football Academy, said: “It’s great to see our former students achieve success and Elliot is the latest player to secure a full-time contract with the football club. Another of our students, Jon Mellish, has had his contract extended after impressing in his maiden season for the club, where he made 15 league appearances. We’re currently inviting other talented students to sign up for the next scholarship programme, which starts in September.
“Our development programmes at the Academy for Sport prepare students thoroughly for a career in the industry. They can draw on the expertise of experienced, top-class coaches to hone their sporting talents while working towards nationally recognised qualifications that allow them to progress in their chosen discipline.”
Under-19s coach at Gateshead FC, Ben Clark, has worked with Elliot and Jon and has expressed delight at their progress.
He said: “Elliot is exactly the type of player who we want on our books. As well as being a talented midfielder, he has intelligence, maturity and a fantastic work ethic which will stand him in good stead for a successful career in the game.
“For several years we have worked with Gateshead College to develop a pipeline of young talent who have gone on to showcase their skills at Gateshead FC or other clubs. The development programme is also great for people who perhaps don’t make the professional grade but who want to forge a career in sport.”
Academy for Sport students work with coaches to attain sporting excellence whilst gaining academic and coaching qualifications in an environment which inspires them to achieve great success. The college has academies in men’s and women’s football, athletics, basketball, boxing, cricket, netball and rugby.
To find out more about Gateshead College and the courses on offer, visit /academy-for-sport/