• Exciting new apprenticeship launched for professional footballers with the backing of the Premier League and English Football League.
  • The apprenticeship will develop apprentices’ technical, tactical, physical and psychological skills.
  • Premier League and EFL Clubs helped support the development of the new apprenticeship, with Leicester City, Manchester City, Hull City, Charlton Athletic, Derby County, and Sheffield Wednesday, forming the employer working group.

A new apprenticeship has been launched for professional footballers in partnership with the Premier League (PL) and English Football League (EFL).

It will set the standard for how talented young players are prepared, both on the field of play and to cope with pressures and expectations away from it, up to the point where they become contracted professional footballers.

To meet the requirements of the apprenticeship, the training regime will need to develop apprentices’ technical, tactical, physical and psychological knowledge and skills. Expectations will also extend beyond matchdays - as they will have to maintain a healthy lifestyle and act as an ambassador for their club, sport, and the wider governing body. This covers how they deal with younger players, fans and the local community – including their approach to diversity, equality and inclusion.

Anne Milton, the Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, said: "I am thrilled that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has launched this new Sporting Excellence Professional apprenticeship in football. The new high-quality apprenticeship will make sure those starting a career in football have the skills they need to progress in their career, and the right mindset to deal with the pressures such a career can bring. This is a fantastic opportunity for any young person to start their apprenticeship journey and get on the path to becoming a professional footballer.”
Jonathan Mitchell, who oversees the development of apprenticeship standards at the Institute, said: “This is an exciting apprenticeship which we hope will really capture the sporting public’s imagination. Football is of course incredibly popular in this country and succeeding as a professional footballer can be very rewarding.
“The aim is to ensure that they are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to succeed by the time they complete the apprenticeship which will last 18 months to two years.
“I would like to thank the PL and EFL, League Football Education, and all football clubs who helped make this happen. It has been a great team effort.”

Premier League and EFL Clubs helped support the development of the new apprenticeship, with Leicester City, Manchester City, Hull City, Charlton Athletic, Derby County, and Sheffield Wednesday, forming the employer working group.

The Sporting Excellence Professional apprenticeship is being launched for footballers first - following development by the clubs, the nation’s most prestigious professional football leagues and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. The apprenticeship could be extended to cricket, rugby league and rugby union in the coming months.

A Premier League spokesperson said: “We have run an Apprenticeship Programme for our Scholars since 2004, for which Ofsted have consistently graded our provision as Outstanding.
“We were therefore keen to play an integral role in the development of a new Apprenticeship Standard and shape the qualification to help support the development of our young, elite players.
“We plan to launch the programme in the coming season and continue to accredit the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours that our Scholars gain throughout their football development programmes.”
An EFL spokesman said: “The EFL and League Football Education are committed to providing young players with the opportunity to develop as footballers and as individuals.
“As a long-standing provider of apprenticeships, we believe the introduction of the new excellence programme this summer, and its subsequent development as a qualification with all relevant stakeholders, will ensure youngsters are given the best chance to secure a career in sport.”