Northern Regional College gets united with BUFC

Northern Regional College has teamed up with IFA Premiership club Ballymena United to offer an innovative opportunity to talented young footballers who wish to combine that talent with their studies.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 8:25 am

The new BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Coaching and Development (Ballymena United Academy) will combine a professional football training programme with an accredited qualification, giving skilled players a unique opportunity to develop both on and off the field.

Christine Brown, Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning at Northern Regional College, said the partnership with Ballymena United would bring many opportunities for Academy players. She said: “The BTEC Extended Diploma is the equivalent of three A levels and focuses on development of employability in the areas of sports coaching, development or administration. It also provides a pathway to university to study for a sports related degree, for example, in sports psychology, coaching and management.”

Neil Beddow, Curriculum Area Manager for Sports at NRC, outlined that the new Sports Coaching and Development programme would be in addition to the Level 3 Sports Coaching and Development (with optional IFA/GAA specialisms) currently offered by the College. He said: “This course is specifically targeted at skilled footballers with aspirations to play at a semi-professional or professional level. The modules they will study have been selected to maximise their potential to play professionally or to pursue a career in coaching, football development or administration,” he said.

Launching Northern Regional College’s new BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Coaching and Development (Ballymena United Academy) are: David Jeffrey, manager at Ballymena United; midfielder Leroy Millar; Christine Brown, Vice Principal of Teaching & Learning at Northern Regional College; defender Trai Hume and Philip Thompson, Director of Operations at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Welcoming the initiative to jointly develop the academic and footballing skills of young players, Ballymena United chair John Taggart said the club recognised the importance of developing young players without compromising academic achievement. “The future success of our club depends on being able to nurture talent and develop young players and the Academy will allow us to do just that,” he said.

The chairman added that although the Academy will be based at Ballymena Showgrounds, players from all local clubs would be welcome:

“We are a very community focussed club and have a great affinity with Ballymena and the local area. All talented young footballers, irrespective of what club they play for, will be welcome to apply.”

For further information contact the course co-ordinator at [email protected] or visit the course web page.