Football Leadership Programme

In 2014 a partnership was formed between Southampton Solent University and Hampshire FA which involved incorporating County FA development projects into the academic studies of the Football Studies degree. The projects are created by Hampshire FA and fit in line with their County plan,these projects are then supported and monitored by the County FA. The football studies students are allocated a project in their first year when they begin the Principles of Football Development module and continue their project work through to their second year when they complete the Applied Football Development module. This allows for the on-going development of the projects and the constant support from the student workforce means we can further support the progression of grassroots football in Hampshire.

Throughout this project it has been essential to utilise partners to further develop the workforce at the University. The key partnership in this project has been Hampshire FA; they have created over 40 projects for our students to work on and their continuous support means the students are able to experience development work first hand. Since 2014 we have established a solid partnership with Hampshire FA and feel this has added significant value to the course content of the Football Studies degree. The project is overseen by Rhea West the Children & Young People’s FDO however Hampshire FA have also provided 6 development staff to support us as the programme as grown. As a large University we have been able to utilise a range of staff members whose support has been invaluable and allowed us to develop the programme to accommodate the growing student intake. As our leadership programme has grown we have been able to increase our partnership work to include secondary schools, community clubs, small sided football centres, national charities and many more. This has been integral to the development of the leadership programme and has ensured that the representation of Southampton Solent University in the community remains very strong.

Since integrating football projects into the Football Studies degree in 2014 we have worked with approximately 400 student leaders. We currently have 196 students working on 42 community based projects which have engaged over 2,000 new participants. These projects include developing opportunities for secondary schools, community clubs, recreational sessions, community leagues and much more. Due to the scale of the Football Leadership programme at the University we have been able to deploy coaches across these projects, which have enabled us to strengthen our relationships with a variety of partners. As a University it has enabled us to create new and develop existing opportunities in grassroots football across the County. We believe that the leadership programme has allowed for a significant development of opportunities in football across Hampshire.



 2016                                                                2015

The creation of such a large student workforce has enabled us to broaden the reach of our development work significantly and highlight the important role the young workforce play in the future of grassroots football.

‘Being able to work so closely with Hampshire FA staff has significantly enhanced the teaching and learning environment as well as the overall student experience offered at Southampton Solent University. The learners have gained invaluable industry experience which has contributed to their personal development, allowed them to accumulate numerous professional contacts, and prepared them for careers relating to football development. We teach our students that the development of successful partnerships, and working towards shared objectives is crucial in football development, particularly within a difficult climate where funding cuts are prevalent. We therefore hope that this particular employer collaboration can go much further beyond simply upskilling the football workforce of tomorrow within the boundaries of the curriculum, more importantly also serving the development of football within the local area on a more permanent basis. Having Hampshire FA staff based on site has - and will continue to be - crucial to this process, ensuring that students are able to access volunteering opportunities relevant to their own personal development, but at the same time offering Hampshire FA the opportunity to engage with and utilise a young, enthusiastic and vast network of volunteers keen to develop their industry experience within football.’

Tracey Bourne (Southampton Solent Course Leader)

‘Hampshire FA has always been keen to tap into the student workforce to support the local football community and we have enjoyed success with SSU on one off projects in the past but the current programme has taken this to a new level. Having Rhea (and previously Kim) on site at SSU has enabled the scope of delivery to increase significantly over the past 2 years and yielded some great successes in a variety of areas. The work Chapter 1, the Southampton Midweek Floodlit League, Futsal participation and schools delivery have been particular highlights.’

Neil Cassar (Hampshire FA Chief Executive Officer)

‘Students from Solent University volunteered as part of Chapter 1’s doorstep sport club programme in partnership with Streetgames. The programme involved increased participation with disadvantaged communities at the heart of Southampton. The students began to work with previously homeless clients who were engaged in a support system to prepare them for greater independence. The students set up a football tournament in April to promote the football programme further, to engage with new services and promote a new football league. The event was a fantastic success with teams from all over Southampton attending.’

Dean Ashton Chapter One (National Development Manager)

'The relationship between Hampshire FA and Southampton Solent allows for the coaching students to have an opportunity to develop their coaching. I am thrilled this has been put in place as Testwood would not have benefited without that relationship.'

Kirsty Barbour (Head of PE at Testwood Sports College)


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