Youth players prepare for education alongside their football.
Whilst the schools now back in full swing across the local area, some of Colchester United's U18s Academy players are settling into their scholarship programmes at Florence Park.
Whilst football is the focus of their work at the training ground, the education element of their time at the U's is equally as important.
A couple of weeks ago, the first year scholars discovered their GCSE results, with a number of them achieving excellent results.
Tyler Brampton received 6 A's, 2 B's, 1 C and a merit, Callum Harrison gained some excellent results also with 2A*s, 3 A's, 4 B's and 4 C's, whilst Marley Andrews and Tom Monk also did exceptionally well, receiving A's, B's and C's.
The hard work over the last two years by all of our scholars has ensured their Academic places on their Apprenticeship with us for the next two years, where the hard work really begins.
While working and training towards being a professional football player is a full time position, our scholars will be attending College two days a week.
Vanessa Osbourn, Academy Head of Education said: "This, in my opinion, must be one of the toughest apprenticeships around as many have to live away from home and travel in off their own steam, while working in a full time position and studying for A Level equivalents.
"These are in the form of Btec Level 3 Diploma in Sports Performance in Excellence, NVQ Level 3 in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance, FA Sports Coaching Level 2 and for some Key Skills Level 2 in Maths and English.
"As a minimum for their Btec they will be expected to complete 12 units in topics that will assist them in their chosen career as professional players, such as nutrition, fitness training, the physiology of fitness, technical and tactical skills in sport to name but a few.
"They will be encouraged to achieve their full potential at either a pass, merit or distinction depending on their current GCSE grades. So the A grade GCSE students will be pushed to achieve a Distinction in line with their academic ability and or encouraged to achieve the Extended Diploma of 18 units to the same grade."
Although it is hoped that each and every one of our scholars makes it into the first team as a professional player, law of averages shows that this is not always the case.
To support our young professionals in their career we look to support them with education so that they can continue their career either with us, elsewhere or at a University or College of their choice in the future, whether that is at the end of their two year scholarship, or at the end of their football career in their thirties.
The U's have links with local Colleges and Universities as well as a team of skilled individuals to assist them in their chosen path.
Vanessa added: "No matter how long or short our scholars time with us might be, we wish them every success in their football, education, future career as players and hopefully the next generation of the club."