A good week for the lads
The last four days have seen five new recruits at Brunton Park as part of a nationwide initiative launched by nPower to try and get young hopefuls valuable experience within a football club.
The scheme, entitled ‘What’s Your Goal?’, encourages youngsters to fulfil their dreams by embarking on a work experience placement at their local football club.
The five teenagers lucky enough to be given this opportunity at Carlisle United were Stevie Bingham, Harry Armstrong, Luke Green, Nathan Smith and Mark Donnelly.
Stevie and Harry worked with Stadium Manager Dave Mitchell, who taught them the ins and outs of the Brunton Park pitch. Luke worked alongside John Halpin within the Football in the Community department and helped out at the local soccer schools during the Easter Holidays. Nathan and Mark were under the leadership of Media Officer Andy Hall, and their experiences are detailed below:
It was an early start for us, as we had to be at Brunton Park for 8:30am. Following brief introductions and a photo on the pitch, the work began. We were whisked off to Creighton Rugby Club to watch the Youth Team in training ahead of their Youth Alliance Cup Area Final against Walsall the next day. Nathan interviewed Eric Kinder before training, and we then got some footage of the boys training for United Player. Once back at Brunton Park, we interviewed Alex Salmon, Tom Berwick and Jordan Parker for their views on the big game.
We spent the morning compiling a video feature based upon the work we had done the previous day. Once the interviews were typed up and the video uploaded, we headed for Richard Rose Central Academy where we conducted video interviews with John Halpin and Luke on their views of the ‘What’s Your Goal?’ scheme. Following this, we headed for Creighton again, to watch the Youth Team defeat Walsall 3-1 and secure their place in the Youth Alliance Cup Final. During half-time, first team star Mark Beck was questioned, and then shortly after the final whistle, we interviewed Alex Salmon and Tom Berwick on their involvement in the win, before we watched Andy Hall put questions to Eric Kinder.
The big day! The first team were back in training and Greg Abbott’s weekly press conference was scheduled for 12:30. Before that though, we had to type up the interviews we had done the previous day, whilst also creating another video feature using the interviews. The press then descended upon Brunton Park for the manager’s press conference, with BBC Radio Cumbria, The News & Star and Andy Hall putting their questions to the gaffer before we got our chance. A tough few hours followed as we were tasked with typing up the press conference, with Andy then deciding which parts were worthy for publication on the website.
Unfortunately, our final day had arrived! We completed both our pieces on the ‘What’s Your Goal?’ experience, which were then uploaded to the website. An interview with Andy Welsh was then conducted, where he talked about his return to the side for the Sheffield United game the previous week. We then had an individual talk with our mentor, Andy Hall, who asked us our feelings about the week and what we hoped to achieve in the future.
It wasn’t just the Media team who were busy, all five of the youngsters were put through a series of tasks that will develop and nurture their skills. Luke, who took part in the Football in the Community role said: “I learned how to help the community and those others who have volunteered to help here. I’ve been teaching the kids attacking and formations and I have also taken part in refereeing the sessions.”
“It’s been a great experience and I’ve learned how to sort the ground out an much more”, added Stevie, who was taking part in the groundstaff experience. “I can definitely use some of these skills after education. I would definitely do this again.”
His sentiments were echoed by Harry, who also took part in tending to the ground: “I wouldn’t hesitate in taking part in this again. Dave (Mitchell) has been excellent. He’s a good guy and teaches us new things every day. I’ve really enjoyed this, and would love to do this again.”
That’s what the teenagers thought of the week, but how did their mentors think they got on?
John Halpin who was responsible for organising the scheme at the club said: “This scheme gives us an opportunity to look at people who we might employ in the future. As for the kids, it lets them have a look at what we do and see if that is what they want to do in the future. Here they can learn the basics and then push on up the ladder if they want. If I know lads and girls will volunteer to do this in their own time, then they must be really interested in doing this.”
Stadium Manager Dave Mitchell was also complimentary of the scheme, adding: “It’s a good thing that young people are both interested and committed to coming in during their holiday. It will definitely be a shame when this comes to an end, but it’s a start for these kids. It’s easy to pick up an individual who doesn’t care and doesn’t want to be here. We’ve had those in the past, but on this occasion they’ve been absolutely fantastic.”
“I thought the lads enjoyed it," Media Officer Andy Hall added. “It’s good to get people into the club who have such a keen interest in Media. It’s fantastic because even over the course of four days you can see people come in and develop their skills. Then, at the end of the week, you get the feeling they don’t want to leave, which is exactly what we want.”
It goes without saying that the scheme has been a resounding success at Carlisle United this season.
A big ‘thank you’ goes to npower for making all of this possible!