South Shields FC teams up with school for project helping pupils into world of work

South Shields Football Club has teamed up with a school to help students kick-start their transition into work.

By Tom Patterson and Neil Fatkin
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 5:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 4:11 pm
Epinay pupils getting work experience under the SSFC Foundation scheme
Epinay pupils getting work experience under the SSFC Foundation scheme

The South Shields FC Foundation and Jarrow’s Epinay School staged the club’s first ‘school takeover’ this week – part of a project aimed at helping Year 10 and 11 students get experience in some of the job roles and voluntary activities at the club.

The youngsters gained an insight into the roles carried out in a voluntary and paid capacity at the club, ranging from financial management to ground work.

A number of the students also took on supporting roles on match-days, helping out with stewarding and hospitality and gaining an insight into the management and medical departments of the club.

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South Shields player Dillon Morse with two Epinay pupils.

Budding journalists also visited The Word in South Shields to record their experiences and write match reports.

Epinay headteacher Chris Rue said: "We can't thank South Shields FC enough for the amazing opportunities they have given our students this week.

“We place a heavy emphasis on preparing our young people for adulthood and trying to find creative ways for them to experience 'real life' work.

“We approached SSFC with the idea and they have been nothing but supportive in making this happen. It really has been a joint venture between a family football club and a local school.

Epinay pupils greet the players at the start of the game.

“It has been amazing to see our young people involved in the experience, and I have no doubt that it will serve them well for when they leave school.

“A massive thanks to everyone involved, and hopefully this will lead to more joint initiatives in the future with the club and other local businesses who see the value in giving young people with special needs an opportunity to shine.”

The project concluded following the Mariners’ game against Stafford Rangers on Saturday (March 26) where a bucket collection and a raffle raised £1,550 for the school.

SSFC Foundation manager Steve Camm said: “We are delighted to have worked on this project with our friends at Epinay School which we hope will be of benefit to the students.

Epinay students serving breakfast.

“Our role within the community is about so much more than what happens on the pitch on a Saturday. The social impact we create is equally important to us.

“Part of that is creating volunteering and employment opportunities for local people who in turn deliver activities that support the health and well-being of our community.”

“We do so much more than football – press and media, accountancy, office administration, retail sales, hospitality and sports coaching to name just some.”

The project with Epinay, which is based in Clervaux Terrace, started when students attended a public consultation event related to proposals for the development and improvement of Harton Welfare, where the Foundation is based.

Epinay pupils helped to consult with some of the club’s first-team players and trustees of the Miners Welfare, asking key questions and recording the answers to be included in the consultation report.

Catering students have also spent time at the Welfare and served breakfast to the players ahead of training, while those with a keener interest in sport delivered a session to players after training.

Epinay School caters for up to 215 students – aged from four to 19 – with a wide range of special educational and complex needs.

The SSFC Foundation is a registered charity which aims to to improve the health and well-being of local people.