The country’s first ever Football and Fitness Course for Transition Year students held its inaugural graduation ceremony at the Fingal County Council Civic Offices in Blanchardstown on Monday, May 15 when 25 TY students received their certificates in front of an audience that included their parents and family members.
The ground-breaking course provides the young students with the opportunity to meet their educational requirements while developing a whole range of football skills and also gaining a full Fitness Instructor’s qualification from Litton Lane Training. This football centred education initiative was run in Corduff Sports Centre over the course of the 2016-17 academic year with all students getting permission from their respective schools to attend.
The Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Darragh Butler, Fingal County Council Chief Executive, Paul Reid, and Ireland U21 Team Manager Noel King, attended the event along with representatives of Blanchardstown Area Partnership, Sport Ireland and elected members of Fingal County Council.
Speaking at the event, Paul Reid congratulated the 25 students who attended the course and added: “Within Fingal County Council we have a ‘can do’ attitude and this is another excellent initiative by our Sports Office. We are aware that young people within our community have sporting ambitions and this programme gave the students an excellent opportunity to develop and enhance their sporting skills while staying within the education system and also giving something back to their local communities through the work experience module of the course. It ticks a lot of boxes for us as an organisation which is focused on the development of communities within Fingal.”
The course run in partnership with the Football Association of Ireland and supported by Blanchardstown Area Partnership and Sport Ireland was extermely well-attended and recorded an impresssive average attendance rate of 93% throughout the school year.
In his address, Noel King spoke to the graduates about the unique opportuntiy that they had been given. He encouraged them to follow their dreams and said that the skills they had gained will stand to them in all walks of life including whatever sport or sporting role they may decide to pursue in the future.
Denis Hyland, an FAI-Fingal County Council Football Development Officer and Course Coordinator, stated: “The course allows TY Students to live in a proper sporting environment for a year while also meeting their educational needs. They are at an age when some young players head abroad to join professional clubs and this programme allows them to reap the same footballing benefits and a lot more while remaining at home within their families and putting something back into their local communities.”
Prior to presenting them with their certificates The Mayor of Fingal, Councilor Darragh Butler, wished the students well when they resume with their academic studies in September and he also hoped that the course would have a positive effect on their futures, irrespective of whether their ambition leads them to a career in football, fitness or something else.