The purpose of the Academy was to improve the individual and collective capability of our youth leaders and our network of Youth Councils and Forums to meet our organisational objectives. Throughout the week volunteers were given the opportunity to invest in their learning and development as a leader, with the intention of volunteers then cascading this amongst peers to also benefit their development and impact on the game locally over the coming season.
Staffordshire FA Young Volunteer of the Year, Ben Kirk who attended the academy said "Before going in the FFA I didn't really know what to expect and as I went into the Futsal Hall I knew that I wanted to stay open minded and try to take in as much information about leadership and ideas for the youth council as I could."
The FFA provided young volunteers with the opportunity to develop multiple areas of their delivery, coaching ethos and leadership philosophies as well as being given a platform to work with volunteers from across the country to interact and highlight the positive work that takes place within County FA Youth Councils.
As a new member of the Staffordshire FA Youth Council, Ben explained how he gained a lot of insight to the potential that being part of the Youth Council could have on his career aspirations; "throughout the week I have met some very influential people such as Baroness Sue Campbell, England Ladies Manager Mark Sampson, the new England manager Sam Allardyce and The FAs CEO Martin Glenn. It was a great experience and to be given the opportunity to ask them questions about leadership and working within football is something that I will take with me away from the camp.
The FFA has open my eyes to many things, seeing the incredible hard work and effort some people have put in to their respective counties has been a real eye opener, and seeing areas such as the Club England area of St Georges Park provides great inspiration to continue being involved in the game."
Over the last decade, thousands of young people have benefitted from their involvement in Football Futures with the camp becoming the pinnacle end of season event which many aspire to be selected for. Many young people previously involved are now employed in the industry (including within The FA, County FAs and across the football industry) and many have credited the transferrable skills that they developed whilst involved with ‘Football Futures’ for supporting their progress into employment.
Staffordshire FA Football Development Officer (Children and Young People), Gemma Turner explained how "the intention of this work has been to increase young peoples’ opportunity and capacity to shape and influence how football is delivered for their peers across County Football Associations and local communities."
The Football Futures programme and the Staffordshire FA Youth Council will continue throughout the 2016/17 season and it is hoped that all the volunteers involved will continue to make a positive impact on football across the county.