Rising stars from the world of community football have been formally recognised by the University of South Wales in partnership with the English Football League Trust (EFLT) for their efforts in promoting the sport across the UK.
Students and professionals based at Premier League, Championship and Football League clubs have emerged as regional and national winners in the 2018 USW/EFL Trust Student Awards after nominees were selected from students working towards the USW Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development.
Based at professional clubs nationwide, students are supported in completing their degree qualification remotely via a blended learning platform – an innovative approach that places the learner within the industry setting and enables them to apply their knowledge alongside study accordingly.
Launched in 2014 as a joint venture between USW and the EFL Trust to provide a solid theoretical and practical foundation of professional coaching skills, as well as opportunities to acquire nationally recognised vocational qualifications, the degree course also serves to identify up and coming industry talent through its annual awards scheme.
Starting with a shortlist of regionally selected nominations, the national winners in this year’s Academic Student of the Year and Professional Practice Award categories have now been announced.
In the Academic Student of the Year Award category Sheffield United’s Andrew Kempson was named as the National Academic Student of the Year for Year One students and Wigan Athletic student Sean Rowlinson was named as the National Academic Student of the Year for Year Two. Both candidates impressed the awards panel with outstanding grades and an unprecedented commitment to supporting their fellow students.
In the Professional Practice Award category Wigan Athletic’s Megan Dykes took the National Professional Practice Award for Year One students after demonstrating a considerable amount of time dedicated towards promoting community sports projects and her appetite for promoting her own personal development via the attendance at a number of varied sports coaching courses in addition to her USW commitments.
Across Year Two students it was Portsmouth’s Mark Corbett who claimed the National Professional Practice Award title. Mark has used his experiences to develop and promote valuable and enjoyable learning opportunities with learners to enhance their football ability within and around the Portsmouth community.
Course leader Jay Probert explained: "These awards serve to highlight the wealth of up and coming talent the professional football environment has to draw on both via the University of South Wales and industry wide. As a pioneering course provider seeking to provide students with an ‘industry-ready’ approach, the team here at USW are heartened and delighted evidence of such dedication and commitment continues to come to light."
Selected by a panel of USW academics with a combination of achieved grades and commitment to professional practice such as volunteering, coaching, work placement and other opportunities in mind, winners in the 2018 awards scheme also included the following: