King James I Academy, Bishop Juniors FC and Shildon AFC have signed a partnership agreement which aims to provide opportunities for young people, not only in education and football but also providing apprenticeship opportunities in the travel industry. Students will have the opportunity to pursue their academic and sporting interests through unrivalled academic pathways to a variety of Universities and into training and employment.
Shildon AFC, who have aspirations for promotion to the Northern Premier League, will become official partners of Bishop Juniors. That, when combined with their own Development Centre, will see over 350 young people associated with the Club. The creation of a very real pathway from Bishop Juniors to the First Team is in place, with two of Bishop Juniors Under 17’s already making First Team debuts this season.
Shildon AFC’s official training facilities are now located at King James I Academy where they have access to strength and conditioning suites, classrooms, football pitches and the superb 3G pitch.
The partnership agreement is a long term commitment and it will see the development and growth of a post-16 Football Academy where scholars can take advantage of day to day coaching from ex-Northern League players and coaches, strength and conditioning, video analysis and the opportunity to train with the First Team. The partnership will also see the formation of a Reserve side for Shildon and the development of facilities at both King James and at Dean Street.
David Dent, Chairman of Shildon AFC said, “This is a really exciting partnership which gives the Club access to a unique Junior set up whose emphasis is very much on player development delivered by UEFA B Coaches. It also allows us to put in place very real player pathways and we have already seen Bishop Juniors players join our First Team squad. King James I Academy provides us with not only a first class training base, but also a Football Academy that will provide talented young footballers with the opportunity to be part of the First Team and Reserve Teams that we are planning to create. It’s not just about football; our partnership with Hays Travel and our plans for a Travel Academy based at King James will provide young people with guaranteed interviews with Hays and the opportunity to develop their career with the fastest growing independent operator within the travel industry.“
Nick Grieveson, Head Teacher from King James I Academy said, “We welcome the opportunity to be able to work in partnership with Shildon AFC, Hays Travel and Bishop Juniors in order to provide our students with even more exciting, educational opportunities. We very much appreciate the support provided by two high profile clubs and by Hays Travel. Students now have the opportunity to develop their careers in football and travel and to pursue their ambitions from a young age. I am sure that our partnership will help to support the next generation of young people on their way to successful futures in two growing industries with organisations that epitomise the best of the North East.”
Darren Tait, Club Secretary and Football Development Officer for Bishop Juniors FC said, ‘’We have had a very close working relationship with King James I Academy for over four years now, and this has been extremely beneficial for both parties. The opportunity to further develop with this new partnership with Shildon AFC is really exciting for us all. After our first conversation I was very impressed with the Shildon Chairman and his ambition, but more importantly, the genuine plans he has in place at the Club. We are hoping that the planned formation of our adult team, which will serve as a Shildon Reserve Team, will also offer young players a realistic pathway into adult football.’’