Portman Professionals is an exciting, new initiative we would like to launch, that works with individuals in lower socio-economic groups who may not currently be in any form of education, employment or training. Social class has been shown to be a significant factor in influencing career aspirations, trajectory and achievement; those in lower socio-economic groups face a number of additional barriers that limit and hinder their individual development. We would like to engage this group through football and the ITFC badge, in order to provide them with a range of opportunities for learning new skills, gaining qualifications and becoming more employable, that they may not have access to otherwise.
It will start with us providing free weekly football sessions for individuals to access, football is a common activity amongst those aged 16-34 in lower socio-economic groups (LSEGs), with 10% of this demographic taking part, which is a similar rate to young people from higher socio-economic groups. Football is particularly effective at engaging individuals in LSEGs in physical activity, it has been found that these groups experience greater quality of life benefits from football compared with higher income groups and with those who play other sports, specifically in their health and confidence levels. Following the sessions, participants can attend workshops and talks which will cover a wide range of life skills and useful topics such as: CV building, interview practice and financial management.
In Ipswich, 25.8% of residents have no qualifications, 26.6% of the town’s population lives within the most deprived fifth of areas in England and 9 areas of the town are ranked within the top 10% most deprived areas nationally. Following individual's participation in the football sessions and workshops put on for those in LSEGs, we would like to up skill participants and give them the chance to access professional development opportunities, this could include them undertaking a number of FA coaching awards and qualifications. Alongside these qualifications, individuals will be supported by us to gain work experience, learn about and develop a range of other life skills in workshops following the sessions, and there may be potential for employment at the end of the programme for those who are the most promising.
With over a quarter of Ipswich residents having no qualifications at all, and this rate being 3% higher than the England average, it is important we address this and provide more opportunities for those in lower socio-economic groups so they can become more employable, experience increased job prospects and have a better quality of life.
We hope that the individuals who start by attending the free-to-access football sessions are able develop the skill set to be able to assist with and lead the sessions, and can then become role models for others in similar situations, inspire others in LSEGs that they can go on to achieve, and create a legacy. Successful participants who have gained qualifications and experience through the initiative, may also go on to coach for us in a number of our other initiatives, such as within our School's Programme, Community Open-Access Football sessions or Elite Player Development Centres.
- The footballing element of our initiative will develop a number of personal skills and core competencies including communication, problem-solving, team work, leadership and sportsmanship, which are highly transferable and required in day to day life.
- The workshops that follow the football sessions will educate and teach individuals about a number of important life skills, including finance and time management. Furthermore, we will also arrange for organisations such as MIND to come in and give talks to participants, so that they know where to go if they need additional support.
- Many of the individuals who will come to our sessions are not in the financial position where they can pay for and undertake courses or qualifications, so through us funding individuals to undertake coaching qualifications and other sporting awards, we will be able to improve their employability, develop individual's professionally, and put them in a position where they can start applying for jobs or possibly gain employment from us at the Ipswich Town Community Trust.
- Alongside the qualifications, we can support individuals with volunteering and work placement opportunities, enabling them to gain valuable experience and enhance their CV.
The Ipswich Town Community Trust was set up to deliver an innovative range of football and sporting activities, to engage, inspire and develop as many people as possible and to be a charity that unites Ipswich Town Football Club with the local community. We are a registered charity and represent Ipswich Town Football Club within the local and surrounding communities, acting as an extension of the club to engage with local people and make a genuine impact on their lives.
- £25 enables an individual to attend the FA Safeguarding Children Workshop (3 hours of learning)
- £30 enables an individual to get their FA Level 1 Introduction to First Aid in Football (3 hours of learning)
- £40 enables an individual to undertake their FA Level 1 in Coaching Futsal (6 hours total course duration)
- £150 enables an individual to undertake their FA Level 1 in Coaching Football (total course duration of 43 hours, also includes the FA Safeguarding Children Workshop and the FA Level 1 Intro to First Aid in Football).
- £390 enables an individual to undertake their FA Level 2 in Coaching Football (total course duration of 145 hours, this can only be done once they have achieved their Level 1).