Link ups pave the way for sporting success at Calderdale College

Calderdale College are continuing to pave the way to sporting success for students in the borough.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 9:36 am
FC Halifax Town academy training, Calderdale College Inspire Centre, Halifax

The number of students on their sporting partnership programmes is set to increase to 175 in the next academic year, thanks to established partnerships with the Bradford Dragons basketball team, Halifax Panthers Rugby League Club, FC Halifax Town and Huddersfield Town Women’s Academy.

Craig Waterworth, general manager of the Inspire Centre at Calderdale College, said: “It’s come a long way, numbers have increased, but more importantly, the quality of students we’re getting now in terms of ability because of our reputation, has progressed.

“It’s the exit routes we’re able to give these kids after they’ve done their education as well, there’s a clear pathway for them.

Huddersfield Town Women's academy

“With the Halifax Panthers, there’s an option where students can do a trade offer as well - a plumbing course, a joinery course - no-one else does that in Yorkshire, and we’ve had a lot of uptake in that.

“We’ve got over 150 students on these programmes at the moment, next year, from September onwards, we’ve got about 175.

“The college have really got behind these academies, the management team, because they can see their added value with the education programmes as well.”

Craig says Calderdale College can offer options for students seeking a career in sport to rival those in neighbouring places like Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.

Bradford Dragons basketball team at Calderdale College. Photo: Alex Daniel Photography

“It is becoming a competitive market, but we are unique because we’ve got partnerships with high-level sporting professionals, or semi-professionals, which gives you that reputation and that identity,” he said.

“No other colleges around the area has such a broad range of academies.

“We’re also in the early stages of looking at working with Calderdale Cubs netball club, maybe to launch next year.

“Women’s sport is on the rise, so we’re trying to follow suit.

“We want to work with professional sporting partners to give students an opportunity to not only do their studies but have an option, if they’re good enough, to progress with our sporting partners.”

Students have between 12 and 15 hours sport contact time a week alongside their academic studies on the college’s programmes.

“We’ve got long-standing partnerships with the football and rugby clubs, working hand-in-hand with them gives us that identity, and that professional element to it,” Craig said.

“It makes me proud to see how it’s developed over the last four or five years.

“It’s gone from 50 to 60 on the academies but it’s progressed 150-plus, which is superb.

“They’re getting top-class coaching, with the Bradford Dragons, there’s Chris Mellor, who is their first-team coach, Steve Nichol and Pete Wild in and around the football, and Andy Hollyhead’s involved with the rugby and their first-team, so there’s clear synergy between all the partnerships.

“The first-teams understand the importance of these programmes and how well they’re run.

“We’re all about giving students opportunities they might not get elsewhere.

“Our results in teaching and learning speak for themselves, but we believe we add value from a sporting perspective, and we give them transferrable skills and make them better people.”

John Rees, Principal and Chief Executive of Calderdale College, said: “Our partnerships with top local sports clubs offer superb opportunities for our students to gain recognised vocational qualifications alongside professional training, giving a more focused trajectory to employment.

“Students on these high level programmes are committed and engaged, and we’ve already seen many go on to have opportunities in and around the first teams as well as securing top roles elsewhere in the Sport and Health industries, demonstrating the wide range of progression options and exit routes available. We are extremely proud of our sport partnerships and the positive outcomes they continue to bring for our students.”