The scheme will give talented young footballers the chance to build their skills on the pitch while studying a full-time course at the college.
Launching this September, academy students will receive coaching from the club’s joint-manager and former professional footballer, Lee Bullock.
And for those at the top of their game, it could even mean the opportunity for a space on the bench, with a view to getting a run out with the first team.
On this exciting opportunity, Bullock said: “The hope is to further develop talented players, creating opportunities to join first team training sessions with the end goal ultimately being inclusion in the first team squad and the beginning of a career in semi-professional football.”
The project will also give the football club itself a chance to have a good look at players in the area, and it will give both the club and youngsters the opportunity to build a strong working relationship.
“We are looking forward to seeing what up and coming talent is out there,” said Whitby Town’s Chief Executive, Graeme Hinchcliffe. “This is a fantastic opportunity for young players to gain vocational qualifications at Redcar and Cleveland College while still pursuing a career in football.”
Currently in the Northern Premier League Division and keen to develop a pipeline of future talent, Graeme said: “From our perspective it is a chance to work with the youngsters, encouraging them to continue their education and hopefully feed some players into the club itself.”
The academy will offer its young players coaching sessions, game time and strength and conditioning training to run alongside their study timetable. The team will also play in the college league before ultimately working up to compete in the academy league.
Town joint-boss Bullock added: “Having previously been involved with college football myself, I am aware of the high standard of players who have not been able to progress into professional football, however I believe that with the right attitude and dedication, along with continued education, many exciting opportunities in both semi-professional and professional football can be achieved.”
Redcar and Cleveland College’s Programme Area Lead for Sport, Public Services and Service Industries, Kelly Coupland, said: “We are so excited to be able to bring this opportunity to the area. It is a great option for those talented young players who strive to make football a profession but also want to get an education alongside it.
“This is a chance for talented young players, aged 16 to 18, to enhance their football skills, linking in with a local semi-professional football club and train at an elite standard while studying a full-time vocational college course in areas such as sport, engineering or plumbing. And, if they show potential, it could lead to bigger and better things.”
Whitby Town will also continue to work with Caedmon College throughout the 2021/22 season, providing on-site coaching and management of their students between the ages of 16 and 18. This relationship has been in place for the last few years but was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The football club is now delighted to be with the two local colleges and they are pleased to announce that students from both colleges will be given the chance to play at the Towbar Express Stadium at the Turnbull Ground as the Academy develops.
The club would like to thank Academy Director David McTiernan and the team at DM Sports Promotions Ltd who have assisted in the process.
To find out more about the Whitby Town Academy with Redcar and Cleveland College email [email protected] or call 01642 473132.