Sidmouth College are hosting an open evening for year 11 students and their parents on Thursday, January 24 (7pm-8pm), to introduce potential new students to the academy scheme which is being launched by Exeter City Football Club in September.

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Exeter City’s college partnerships, which combine on-field training and matches with classroom-based study, have proven hugely successful at Bideford College and Exeter College.

As well as giving aspiring footballers the opportunities to develop their talents, the course also gives the students BTEC qualifications, A-Levels and a wealth of other possibilities, should they not quite break through as a player.

The club and the college are inviting school-leavers from all over Exeter and East Devon that are interested in taking this unique route into further education to come and see the facilities and the prospects on offer at Sidmouth College.

Scot Bennett, who is a regular in the Grecians’ midfield, came through the equivalent scheme at Exeter College.

He said of the scheme: “It always gives you something to fall back on if you don’t quite make it. There’s a lot of lads out there that are trying to make it as footballers, so there’s always going to be a few that miss out.

“It also gives you something to move onto next. You get a BTEC qualification, so you can always move on to a sports degree or something, and pick which direction you want to go in. It helps you with your work, and it gets you used to life outside of football too.”

Additionally, Sidmouth College are also hosting a football tournament for students from the East Devon Schools district on Wednesday, January 23. It kicks off at 3.30pm and ends at 5pm, and will give some youngsters the opportunity to use the facilities on offer at the college and explore the scenic surroundings of the Sid Valley.

Simon Hayward, who works as Head of Youth at the Exeter City, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for talented youngsters to join the set-up at Exeter City without having to forfeit their education. Learning is the most important part of what we’re doing at the Academy, both on the pitch and in the classroom.”

For more information about attending the tournament, the open evening, or general enquiries about the academy scheme at Sidmouth College, contact Richard Brown on richard.brown@exetercityfc.co.uk.

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