Autumn 2012 proved to be a very busy international period for Vi-Ability Educational Programme. During the months of September and October two groups of 16 NEET participants (aged between 16 and 25 years of age) completed two-week European work placements.
The Leonardo Lifelong Learning Programme funded the work placements and allowed the participants, all from North Wales, to be able to take part in this unique opportunity to learn about best practices in professional football clubs based in two of the most football obsessed countries; Italy and Spain.
The programme is designed to help youngsters gain key life & employability skills and contribute to their personal development.
One group was taken to Turin and were hosted by Vicenza Calcio who arranged spells with neighbouring Serie A Clubs – Torino FC and Italian giants Juventus FC.
The second group was hosted by Racing Club Portunese and were taken to the city of Barcelona for spells with 3rd division professional club CE Europa and La Liga Football Club RCD Espanyol.
The participants were able to see how the Clubs were managed ‘off the pitch’ from commercial sponsorship to ticketing activities, community initiatives and youth coaching programmes.
However, it was not all work. The groups were taken on cultural tours; watched live football matches; ate out in local restaurants; and took part in stadium tours.
A key highlight for participants in Italy included meeting former premier league star and Italian legend ‘Fabrizio Ravanelli’ (pictured right)
Whilst for those participants in Spain visiting the world famous ‘Nou Camp’ and watching ‘Messi’ in the Live Champions League Fixture between FC Barcelona and Celtic, represented the most memorable moment.
Some of the participants commented:
“A once in a lifetime opportunity which has motivated me to develop a career in the football industry. It has opened my eyes to a possibility to live and work abroad.”
“Meeting professional staff and being able to ask them questions on their own work and development has set my standards.”
Vi-Ability Managing Director, Kelly Davies, commented; “In just over 12 months we have given 90 young individuals the opportunity to travel abroad and take part in work placements at professional football clubs. As well as each individual making a positive change to his or her lives as a direct result of the experience, it is now becoming very evident that they are going that one step further and helping their local club implement lessons learnt so that become thriving, financially self-sustaining ‘hubs’ of the community”.
Vi-Ability would like to extend their thanks to: the Leonardo Life Long Learning Programme, Global Vacations Ltd, CJR International Sports and to everyone in Italy and Spain who hosted the participants while they were over there.