Student Perspective: Developing skills for life at Velocity Football

At Velocity Football we pride ourselves on delivering quality full-time educational programmes that help develop our students into well-rounded individuals.

Our programmes for students aged 16 to 23 combine football and sport business with academia. It provides a pathway to employment across the sports sector – from physiotherapy to coaching, working in an analysis department or even the media.  

But what do our students think of Velocity Football and the opportunities we provide at our base at Oxford City FC?

To find out, we caught up with Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport students Adele Davis and Tyan Hawkins. We discussed why they enrolled with Velocity Football, their experience so far and what would they recommend to prospective students thinking about enrolling into one of our programmes.

Adele Davis has been studying our Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport programme since September.

Development pathway

For first-year student Adele, the thought of extending her stay at school via sixth form was an option that did not appeal to her.

Her passion for football had already been ignited six years before she made the decision not to enrol into sixth form as she watched the women’s game receive increased media exposure through TV and online.

After catching the football bug when playing in a school tournament, Adele developed her skills by signing for Thame Ladies – a team she now represents at U18s level in addition to her commitments with Velocity Football.

But combining her education with football to establish a firm qualification appealed to Adele. “Velocity Football has provided me with a platform to progress my studies in a way that appeals to me,” she said.

“For me, going down the sixth form route was a little generic – it’s what most people my age decide to do. I want my CV to stand out when it comes to applying for jobs in the future, and I believe that is possible with the support of Velocity Football because of the opportunities and education I receive here.”

Career options

Adele is certain a career in sport is what she wants to pursue once she graduates from Velocity Football.

But her options remain open. She has ambitions to become a physiotherapist but does not wish to rule out the chance to explore different paths such as coaching, analysis, nutrition, and the media.

The syllabus delivered by Velocity Football’s coaches and tutors covers these areas and more. Adele added: “I’m only in my first year with Velocity Football so want to explore all the different options available in the sport industry before making a firm decision regarding what I want the start of my career to look like.

“I find focusing during lessons very easy, it’s different to school. Lessons are broken up by our time outside training and we work in a relaxed environment where everyone has established a great team spirit.

“Importantly, though, we get the work done and do work hard.”

Enjoy every day

A typical week at Velocity Football for Adele would involve several lessons as part of the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport programme, three training sessions, one competitive match against a local team, and one day studying remotely from home.

Although the country’s recent COVID-19 lockdown has postponed competitive matches until further notice, Adele and her classmates have still been attending lessons and training sessions in line with the Government’s latest guidelines.

It is a format she loves, and Adele would advise anyone with an ambition to explore a career in sport to consider Velocity Football as their next academic step.

She added: “Velocity Football is well-organised, fun, and enjoyable – I’d advise anyone with a dream like mine to enrol into the BTEC programme.

“Everyone on my course has built a strong relationship with Velocity coaches’ Lauren (Haynes) and Aliyah (Anthony), I think part of that is down to what we achieve on the pitch and in the classroom. There is a great team spirit.”

Expert coaching

Second-year student Tyan may still be in his teenage years, but he appreciates expert coaching when he receives it.

Tyan, who has captained Oxford City FC’s U23s team through the club’s partnership with Velocity Football, represented Watford and Oxford United during his school years. But he is now exploring a fresh educational pathway with Velocity Football.

He said: “The coaching Velocity Football provides is honestly a different level. Working with Mickey Lewis and Josh Ashby is an amazing opportunity for not only me but also for all the lads on my course too.

“My first year was great, but I am enjoying my second year even more. I love being able to combine my training with education and the working in the environment Velocity Football has created really inspires me to kick-on.”

Tyan Hawkins is in his second year of education with Velocity Football.

Classroom focus

Tyan’s achievements to date means naturally he wants to pursue his ultimate dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Velocity Football provides students with a platform to follow that dream. But Tyan does not wish to narrow his options and understands the importance of a good education.

“I struggled at school,” said Tyan. “I’m an energetic person and sitting in a classroom all day frustrated me in a way, it was hard to focus when I had a lot of football commitments outside of school to deal with too.

“But at Velocity I can focus, everything I could possibly need is delivered to me under one roof. Because I commit myself to the education aspect of Velocity Football, I feel like I am training better now than I have before.”

Fresh opportunities

And with hard work comes fresh opportunities, something Tyan has experienced thanks to Velocity Football’s strong community partnerships.

He added: “Because of my involvement with the Velocity programme, I have been able to demonstrate my ability on the pitch to coaches and consequently now train with Oxford City’s first team. 

“I’ve appeared on the bench a few times, but I’m still waiting for my big chance and I’m ready to take it when it comes. We have a great structure in place at Velocity where students of all abilities have the chance to play in either the National League or Tactic League.

“Everyone involved with the programmes – from our coaches to tutors – wants to be in a sporting environment and it has created a great atmosphere. I would advise anyone thinking of joining Velocity next year to work hard, because if you work hard then Velocity Football will provide you with some amazing opportunities.”

Virtual Open Event

If the experiences of Adele and Tyan appeal to you, you can learn more about the programmes we provide to our students by attending our second virtual open event.

The event will be co-hosted by Velocity director Justin Merritt and Lauren Haynes, head coach of our female programme, from 7pm on Wednesday, December 9.

The evening will provide prospective students and their parents or carers with an opportunity to raise any questions they may have about our programmes while listening to the input of head coach of our male programme Mickey Lewis plus a selection of current students.

To attend the virtual open event and find out more about the exciting pathway Velocity Football can provide, visit www.velocityfootball.co.uk and contact the team via our ‘Sign Up’ page. Alternatively, you can call the Velocity Football team direct on 0300 303 0809 to find out further information or email courses@ignitesport.co.uk

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