THE OWNERS of Ilkeston FC, SR Education, have distanced themselves from a BBC Radio Five Live investigation into a sports-based apprenticeship scheme that failed to help youngsters gain coaching qualifications.
This week SR stressed to students and fans that not all sport education firms should be tarred with the same brush and pledged to continue its work with apprentices and adult learning in the community.
Managing director Dave Mantle said: “Our sports-based programmes are in no way linked to those identified in the BBC investigation.
“Sports-based apprentices with SR Education are typically on a two-year rolling programme which provides the opportunity to progress from Level 2 framework to Level 3 advanced apprenticeship NVQ Qualifications.
“All apprentices have contracts of employment and our employer engagement officers ensure all apprentices gain real work-based experience by coaching in schools and other local authority environments.”
Ilkeston FC are the company’s flagship project and other football clubs are closely monitoring their business model.
Mr Mantle added: “We work hard to form and maintain strong links across the country with various national sports governing bodies, schools and local authorities to not only ensure that our apprentices gain valuable sports coaching experience but also take the crucial first step towards sustaining employment.”
The Robins currently have 26 second-year apprentices with a further 19 first-years due to progress onto apprenticeships in February. SR Education also invested £100,000 during the summer to create and equip a modern block of classrooms at the New Manor Ground.
Mr Mantle said: “Our apprentices are paid in line with government apprenticeship guidelines and we are proud of our success rate which show that 95 per cent of the learners achieve the full range of qualifications.”
Ilkeston FC has also secured funding from Nottinghamshire FA for apprentices to deliver disability coaching to a number of special schools, and Nottinghamshire Police are funding apprentices to deliver structured football sessions to help combat underage drinking and violence.
SR also offers apprenticeships in Health and Social Care, Business Administration, Spectator Safety and Event Management with a wide variety of employers across the country.