News of a new initiative aimed at local unemployed.
Former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson has pledged his support to a scheme aimed at proving support to young unemployed through football. The Templegate Training Academy, based at Power League in Aston, provides six months coaching for anyone not in employment or education, with training provided by another former Villa player, John Fashanu, and ex-Manchester City and Republic of Ireland defender Terry Phelan.
Atkinson, who won the Premiership Goal of the Season award with Villa and also played for the England B team before playing his trade around the globe, talked to a group of local youngsters about his background and of the rewards that can arise from playing the game at any level.
However, organisers are keen to stress that the course is not just for budding professional footballers. Those taking part will learn life skills and enjoy work experience while being able to study for trade qualifications as well as sporting coaching badges, with the aim of boosting employment chances in all aspects of sports and sports management for those who complete the course.
Telford-born Dalian also spoke of the problems he faced both growing up and when he began to play football at the top level. “Now you might get half a dozen lads making racist chants and the focus is on them but back then you’d have the entire ground singing in harmony.” He does, though, accept that the challenge for young people now is just as difficult, “They look disheartened, as though they’re in a dead end and they’ve had so many knock backs. But you’ve got to keep on going, you’ve got no choice. You’ve got to keep trying.”
Organiser of the course, which is sponsored by JD Sports and has the backing of community groups and local police, accept that there can be other obstacles facing those who might wish to make a commitment to the course and have tried wherever possible to make participation easier. Training kit is provided, there are two-week residential breaks and trainees can be collected from home courtesy of mini-buses donated by Mercedes Benz. As Dalian said, “All they have to do is just turn up. Get out of bed, put your clothes on and go out the front door. But sometimes that’s the hardest part.”
The next course begins at Power League on Wednesday 17th July and comprises of two days training a week for six months.
Courses are free and open to anyone not in employment or education. For further details visit www.templegatetraining.co.uk