In conjunction with the WJEC examining board the Supporters’ Trust is offering all 14-16 year old pupils in Wales the chance to learn about the football club and the Trust by taking its Enterprise and Employability Challenge as part of their Welsh Baccalaureate (WB) qualification. The challenge is “To develop a product or service that will enhance the match day experience for young people”. As part of the Challenge a number of pupils have been on a tour of the Liberty Stadium and some have spent time working on the Challenge in a Hospitality box. The Trust’s “Supporter Director” Stuart McDonald has arranged with the club that, currently, they are not charging for the use of the hospitality box or the stadium tour while Trust Board member Sian Davies has arranged the visits with the administration staff.
Dwr Y Felin Comprehensive School in Neath piloted the Supporters’ Trust challenge with their entire Year 10 cohort, some two hundred and fifty 14 to 15 year old pupils in June and July 2018. Discussions took place between the school’s WB Co-ordinator, the WB Manager for Neath Port Talbot and Sian Davies about how the Challenge would be introduced and how the role of the Supporters’ Trust would be explained to pupils. To this end they developed a Teachers’ Pack which included a lesson plan, an information sheet on the Challenge and the Supporters’ Trust, a Powerpoint presentation and an activity sheet on the Supporters’ Trust for pupils to complete. This pack can now be used by any school wishing to undertake the Challenge. Sian visited the school whilst the pupils were working on the Challenge and spoke to groups of pupils about their ideas and about the Trust. She then took part in the assessment of some of the pupils’ presentations. The ideas that the pupils came up with were outstanding – and very imaginative! They far exceeded all expectations. Pupils’ feedback on the Challenge was also very positive, by both boys and girls. One comment from a pupil… ‘Best three days! I don’t like Maths and English – loved this!’ A small number of pupils then visited the Liberty Stadium for a tour of the facilities. Unfortunately, not all pupils were able to visit, although they deserved it!
In September Lee Trundle and Leon Britton, together with a representative of the WJEC, visited the school and spoke to groups of pupils about their displays and ideas. The visit by Lee and Leon was the ideal end to the whole process of the Challenge. The pupils had an opportunity to display their work and explain their innovative ideas to representatives from the Club and, to some of them, their idols! It was very motivating not only to the pupils that had completed the Challenge but also to those pupils who will undertake the Challenge in the summer of 2019.
The Trust would like to thank the WB Manager for Neath Port Talbot and the WB coordinator in the school and her team, who were extremely supportive throughout the whole process and worked extremely hard to ensure that the Challenge was a resounding success, with both girls and boys.
The Trust would also like to thank the Club for its support during the project, with a Liberty Stadium tour for some of the pupils and the visit by Lee and Leon.
Following on from this a much smaller group of pupils from Gowerton Comprehensive School embarked on the challenge at the end of September 2018. With a smaller group of pupils it was possible to take a slightly different approach to the Challenge. The pupils spent a morning at the Liberty Stadium starting their visit in a Hospitality Box overlooking the pitch. Once there they spent a few minutes with Trust Board member Roger Goodwin discussing the aims and role of the Supporters’ Trust in relation to the history and current situation of the football club. Then their teacher split them into groups to begin to map out ideas as to just what product or service might be most suitable for making young people’s match day visit more enjoyable. Late morning they were taken on a thoroughly enjoyed tour of the stadium which was completed by lunchtime, in time for them to join their coach for the trip back to Gowerton.
The pupils are now working on the challenge at school under the guidance of their teacher and the occasional visit from Roger for the Trust. They are looking to complete it by January 2019 when each group will present their ideas to a panel which will include a Trust Board member and hopefully a player/ former player.
The next stage in this initiative is to roll out the challenge to more schools across South West Wales. Any school wishing to become involved should contact either Sian Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Roger Goodwin (email@example.com)