Sunderland College partners with Foundation of Light

Two of the North East’s leading education and skills providers are teaming up give young people across the region greater access to qualifications, sport and employment opportunities.

Sunderland College has partnered with Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light to support the charity’s football, futsal and coaching scholarships which gives 16-19-year-olds the opportunity to combine full-time study with coaching experience and competitive games programme.

Each scholarship is designed to mirror the ethos and schedule of professional academies, with students training under the guidance of UEFA and FA qualified coaches at the world-class Beacon of Light and the college’s multi-million-pound Sports Academy at its Bede Campus, while representing the Black Cats in regional and national competitions.

Off the pitch, students can follow bespoke academic pathways, studying either a Sport vocational qualification or A-Levels, ensuring they have the skills, knowledge and experience to progress into employment, further study or to higher education.

By working together to pool expertise, further shape the intent of the curriculum, and align shared values, the strategic partnership will improve the lives and learning opportunities of thousands of young people across Wearside and beyond helping them to achieve their goals.

In 2019, Sunderland College had a 99.1% pass rates in A-Level subjects, with 94.1% of student’s progressing to further study, university or employment. The college also boasts a reputation for sporting excellence through its established and successful Sports Development Centres, South Shields FC Academy, Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) and Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport Inclusion Hub.

The college is one of 22 AoC national football Super Hubs, joining an elite network of high performing colleges across the country who demonstrate commitment and innovation within football and futsal in the further education sector.

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive at Education Partnership North East, said: “I am delighted that our two brilliant organisations have joined forces for the greater good of our city and wider region.

“Working together, we have already pooled our expertise and enhanced our curriculum offer. We have every intention of championing diversity and inclusivity and all of our efforts are focused on raising the aspiration of children and young people to ensure positive progression to higher level study or careers.”

Established in 2001, Foundation of Light has grown to become one of the most pioneering sports charities in the world, winning multiple awards for our ground-breaking sports, health, community and education programmes.

The Foundation’s male and female sports scholarships have enjoyed success both on the pitch and in the classroom, winning the prestigious national tournaments, with students progressing to professional football clubs such as Sunderland AFC as well as some of the country’s best universities.

Jamie Wright, Managing Director at Foundation of Light, said: “Sunderland College has a strong status within our city and we are delighted to be working alongside them. The partnership will see young people working towards Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications to help identify and fulfil their future aspirations.”

The partnership will also see the two organisations work together on community activities to benefit people across the North East, with further details to be announced in due course.

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