Becoming an apprentice in the football industry

Football is the most popular sport in England, yet opportunities for young people seem to be few and far between.

In part, this is because of the huge popularity of the game, with jobs getting hundreds of applications and snapped up instantly. However, there also appears to be a lack of information surrounding the industry of the beautiful game.

So what apprenticeships are available in football and how can you net one?

Football academies and trials

If you play or follow football you are probably aware that almost every professional club has a youth academy. Youth academies work to recruit young talented and aspiring footballers, both men and women, training them to play at a semi-professional or professional level.

The appeal of football academies, besides the chance to play professional football, is that many clubs also offer its young recruits the chance to take on various coaching and sports qualifications, providing skills and expertise they can utilise during and after their playing careers.

While this is the most common way into a footballing ‘apprenticeship’, it is far from the only way! Let’s see what else is available for those not so talented with the ball at their feet…

Football coaching apprenticeships & Sports education programmes

For those aiming to go straight into the world of football coaching, there are a number of avenues to pursue. The traditional way to obtain a coaching job is to work through your coaching qualifications and certificates, eventually landing a job at a club. This can be done either as a volunteer coach, at college, or sponsored by a club themselves.

Sports education programmes are a mixture of all of these things. They allow you to pursue a qualification that is sponsored by a club. Check out, for example, this sports education program from Bristol City FC.

While you will be hard-pressed to find a straight-forward football coaching apprenticeship, schemes such as this allow you to essentially create your own apprentice experience, by combining study, work, and volunteering to achieve your coaching certifications.

Jobs in Football – off the pitch

If you want to work in football but don’t want to get your boots muddy, there are a number of business functions that always require young talent, including marketing, sales, finance and catering.

These jobs can be something of a rarity and we would recommend creating an alert, with the keyword “football”, at the GOV.UK apprenticeship database.

Despite the pot-luck approach, there are some great opportunities available. Our latest search turned up positions as varied as Digital Marketing Apprentice, Football Administrator, Media Business Administration, software development, and Payroll and Finance apprentices at both premier league, and a number of smaller clubs.

There are also several opportunities available for apprentice groundsman.

Leadership through sport & business

There are also a number of apprenticeships created through partnerships with football clubs, businesses and charities.

The EFL trust is a charity that offers free training for 16-18-year-olds. You get to join a professional football club as a trainee for 3 months and learn a host of new employability skills.

Leadership through sport is a programme that uses football to help get you into a full-time career. It combines learning football coaching with a foundation certificate in accounting, as well as personal development and employability training. This can then lead on to a paid 18-month apprenticeships with a number of large companies.

Likewise, their digital and innovation apprenticeship partners with Natwest to provide an intensive 4-week bootcamp that combines the power of Sport and Business to help you succeed. From a Sports Leadership qualification with a Premier League Football Club to a host of employability skills and exclusive corporate experiences, Successful completion of the bootcamp guarantees you an interview with NatWest for their Digital and Innovation degree apprenticeship programme (with a starting salary of £27,495 based in London).

They partner with some great premier league clubs to deliver their schemes, including Aston Villa Foundation, Chelsea Foundation, City in the Community, Liverpool FC Foundation, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, and West Ham United Foundation.

The reality of football apprenticeships

Landing a job in football can be hard, but for many young people it is a struggle worth pursuing. Now that you have all of the information at your fingertips we hope that your footballing industry journey will be made a little bit easier, and the next time we see you, you’ll be kitted up in your team’s colours.

Good luck!


For more guides, news, jobs and advice, check out our weekly newsletter.

Categories: Discover