Oxford City FC first-team Manager David Oldfield has encouraged young people interested in a career in football or sport to explore full-time educational academy Velocity Football.
The former midfielder, who has over 650 professional appearances to his name, met prospective students during the Easter break as part of his commitment to supporting the provision of education in Oxford.
The ex-Manchester City, Leicester City, Luton Town and Oxford United player is a regular visitor to the programme which combines football and sport business with academia for 16 to 23-year-olds.
Training and education takes place at Oxford City’s Marston-based stadium which boasts two 3G pitches, a mini gym, classrooms, changing rooms, social areas and an on-site pop-up lunch area that serves healthy meals and snacks.
Career pathways supported by football clubs have changed dramatically since Oldfield joined Luton Town as an apprentice in 1984 under the Youth Training Scheme (YTS). Now, careers covering all aspects of the sports sector are accounted for by academies who accommodate student-athletes.
“I was one of the first group of young players to play and train professionally for a team under the YTS, so I consider myself lucky to have been involved with that process,” said Oldfield.
“Football and sport are both ultra-competitive and difficult. Male and female players mature, improve and learn at different times. To be able to combine football with good quality education is fantastic and I see that at Velocity Football.
“It’s a fantastic model and Velocity Football do a brilliant job in allowing young people to continue playing football and chasing their dreams while having a valid education run parallel with that. Looking back, I wish something similar was available in my youth, but we knew nothing different.”
Velocity Football provides young people with industry-recognised qualifications including Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, Level 2 BTEC First Extended Certificate in Sport, Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Sport and Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science.
The programmes are delivered in partnership with Virtual Learning UK, whose tutors complement the on-field training delivered by Ignite Sport UK staff, and Activate Learning.
Some students are still pursuing the opportunity to play professionally by representing Oxford City in this year’s National League U19s Alliance campaign while others are gaining experience in strength and conditioning, performance analysis and nutrition among other sectors.
“There are opportunities everywhere,” added Oldfield. “The key factor is the Oxford City FC banner.
“We want to be a collective group working in the community and working with people to provide a valuable learning experience from the first-team through our academy and educational programme right down to younger players.
“I believe it’s important senior players feel and understand where they sit within the umbrella of Oxford City FC. It’s a fantastic club to be involved in and I’d encourage any young person considering their higher education options to join our journey.”
Spaces to enrol with Velocity Football for the 2021-22 academic year are available. Requirements to enrol with the BTEC programme are four GCSEs (9-4) including English and Maths.
Students allowed onto the programme with grades 3 and below will study for compulsory English and Maths exams.
Our friendly team are available to answer any questions you might have via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0300 303 0809.