Tuesday 21 January 2014
When you are a teenager hoping to enter into big world of football outside of playing anything you can learn to give you an edge in a competitive market is welcome.
For Nick Fowler-Ekar, aged 17 from London, he was afforded a unique insight into the workings of a successful football club when he spent a day at Everton’s training ground. He shadowed first-team manager Roberto Martinez and his staff and saw how they have managed to develop an Everton who are outperforming many people’s expectations this season.
"This competition is a fantastic way of highlighting the real value of work experience"
Fowler-Ekar’s day at Finch Farm was thanks to LifeSkills, a work-experience scheme created with Barclays, the title sponsor of the Barclays Premier League, that offers an education to equip young people with the skills they need for work.
Last year one lucky winner shadowed West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady under the scheme, but this was the first time access to a Barclays Premier League club’s manager and staff had been granted and, for Fowler-Ekar, who is hoping for a career in football, the chance to observe and talk to Martinez and his staff provided invaluable insight.
As well as learning about the Spaniard’s approach to management, Fowler-Ekar also explored the Finch Farm facilities, attended a 45-minute training session and spoke to the club physio team, kitman, video analysis department and Martinez’s personal assistant.
"I'm so grateful to have been given this opportunity to spend time with Roberto Martinez and his team," Fowler-Ekar said. "I've loved football for as long as I can remember, so to actually meet and learn from someone managing a major football team was a dream come true.
"It's brilliant to see all the different routes into football and get some ideas on how I can start a career in the sport. My friends were so jealous; I can’t wait to share what I’ve learnt with them."
Martinez was happy for Everton to be first club manager to be associated with the scheme.
"Working for a Barclays Premier League club is a dream shared by millions of young people and work experience can help young people who may not have had the opportunity with a first step into the sport," he said. "This competition is a fantastic way of highlighting the real value of work experience and it is great that Barclays are helping to facilitate such opportunities.
"I love doing the job I do and am happy to have been able to share my experience and that of my support team with Nick, I’m sure he has a bright future ahead of him."
Created with Barclays, LifeSkills is dedicated to helping young people bridge the gap between education and the world of work. The programme offers a range of opportunities for the thousands of entrants, including a trip to the Facebook Headquarters in California and spending the day learning how to be a radio presenter with BBC Radio 1's Jameela Jamil. For more information click here >>