Tottenham Hotspur’s next home match was not for another fortnight, but its White Hart Lane stadium was anything but deserted.
Of the dozens of people heading towards the 36,000-seater ground on a grey Friday morning, many were students enrolled on the club’s foundation degree programmes.
Run by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, the club’s community outreach arm, the two-year courses in football coaching and performance, and in applied sport and community development, are taught mainly in Spurs’ Learning Zone, equipped with 32 computers.
Group work takes place in corporate boxes overlooking the immaculately kept pitch. Lectures are also held in the room where first-team manager Mauricio Pochettino holds his match-day press conferences, and some classes take place at Spurs’ training centre in Enfield, North London.
The unusual setting for the degree programmes, which are validated by Middlesex University, has helped the foundation to increase its intake from 18 in 2010-11 to just over 100 this year, making it one of the many private providers to have significantly expanded their higher education offerings.
Many of those signing up are youngsters from Tottenham’s multi-ethnic population who might not have considered further study unless their local football team were involved, observes Grant Cornwell, chief executive officer of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
“We have a great relationship with young people, so we are better placed to work with these students than a conventional university,” Cornwell says.
But students, who are charged £6,000 a year – the maximum allowable for private providers if students are using state loans to cover tuition – are quickly disabused of any notion that there will be kickabouts with their Premier League heroes, says Cornwell.
“These courses aren’t about becoming a professional player, but focusing on a career within sport and coaching,” he says, pointing to the numerous youth coaching, community outreach and business posts that are available within the football industry.
Over their two years of studies, students undertake 180 hours of unpaid football-related work, such as volunteering in local schemes, youth clubs or disability groups linked to Spurs.
“Most people don’t know what happens at a football club throughout the week; they only see what happens for 90 minutes on the pitch,” says Cornwell. “We give them the chance to sample what the football business is really like and all the different elements within it.”
Second-year student William Stowe, 24, from Hackney, believes that his experience running sports classes for about 100 children will help him to realise his ambition to become a full-time youth worker.
“Employers are looking for experience these days, so it’s good to get these opportunities,” he says.
Samuel Addae, 22, from Neasden, says that having helped organise a charity football match involving Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie and Peterborough United’s Gabriel Zakuani will boost his chances of finding a role in the business side of sport.
The foundation says it is proud of its graduate employment record. According to its own survey, about 35 per cent are in work six months after leaving the course, sometimes taking roles at Tottenham itself.
A further 55 per cent top up their foundation course with a third year of study at Middlesex or another university in sports science, sports nutrition, teaching or coaching to achieve a full bachelor’s degree.
Tottenham is the only Premier League club to run such a scheme, in addition to supporting several primary schools, five secondary schools and seven further education colleges across four London boroughs, says Cornwell, adding that it should serve as an example to others.
“It would be great if we could engage with a child aged five, then at secondary school and eventually see them graduate with us with a good job,” he says.
“We’re proud to be the first to do this and remain leaders in this field. Football has to be seen to be making a difference,” he adds.
180 hours of unpaid football-related work carried out by foundation degree students over two years
Entrepreneur Doug Richard, one of the original members of the BBC Two programme Dragons’ Den, is to be the next chancellor of Teesside University. He will take over from Lord Sawyer of Darlington, who has been chancellor since 2005 and whose term of office has concluded. Mr Richard, who has advised the government on entrepreneurship development, said he was “excited and honoured” and is expected to be installed early next year.
University of Manchester
Mathematicians at a university associated with Alan Turing have launched their annual cryptology competition in the week a film about the famed code-breaker and computing pioneer is released. The University of Manchester’s competition features clues based around the true story of how, in 1940, Professor Turing converted his savings into silver ingots and buried them in an undiscovered location. The winner will receive merchandise related to the film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
University of Oxford
Students at a southern university hosted an Oscar-winning actor this month. Morgan Freeman spoke about his career in the debate chambers of the University of Oxford on 11 November. The event, open to students and alumni, was moderated by Mayank Banerjee, the Oxford Union president. The event, which was recorded, was the first in the Conversations series, a partnership between the Oxford Union and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.
Institute of Education, University of London
A university project that helped older people to sing and play music has won a health award. The Music for Life project, which was run by the Institute of Education, University of London, received the Royal Society for Public Health award for demonstrating how music-making could provide a “compassionate, creative and cost-effective response to loneliness and depression in later life”.
University of Edinburgh
Nominations have opened for the role of rector at the University of Edinburgh ahead of elections next February. All staff and students are eligible to nominate candidates. Nominees must provide written confirmation that they accept the nomination, supported by a minimum of 40 staff and students. Serving rector Peter McColl, a political activist and blogger, is coming to the end of his three-year term.
University of Salford
More than 50 artworks created by University of Salford students have been chosen to adorn the walls of Hotel Football, which is being developed by Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, next door to Old Trafford stadium. The art project is part of the partnership between Salford and Manchester United’s “Class of ’92” – Mr Giggs, Mr Neville, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt. Hotel Football’s official opening is in December.
University of East Anglia
A professor has been awarded a United Nations prize for service to the planet. Bob Watson, professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, received the Champions of the Earth Award for Science and Innovation earlier this month. Professor Watson received the UN’s highest environmental accolade for his research into ozone depletion, global warming and the impacts of biodiversity loss.
Royal Holloway, University of London
Many children born in East Germany shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall suffered from poor parenting by “risk loving” mothers, a study has claimed. Arnaud Chevalier, a reader in economics at Royal Holloway, University of London, analysed the German Socio-Economic Panel, a longitudinal survey, and found that “children of the wall” did less well at school and, as adults, were 40 per cent more likely to commit crimes than children born in previous years. Germany marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall earlier this month.
Register to continue
Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.
Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:
- Sign up for the editor's highlights
- Receive World University Rankings news first
- Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
- Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Or subscribe for unlimited access to:
- Unlimited access to news, views, insights & reviews
- Digital editions
- Digital access to THE’s university and college rankings analysis
Already registered or a current subscriber?Sign in now