The Community Education team at Milton Keynes Dons Sport and Education Trust (SET) delivers innovative interventions to over 15,000 participants of all ages, abilities and backgrounds in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. Delivery areas include programmes supporting employability, education, and community youth engagement.
SET delivers the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme, supporting people – including ex-offenders and other vulnerable groups – into employment. Over 20 BBO participants have gained employment and another 40 progressed to further education/training. One participant stated that this project made him feel that he was ‘now capable of achieving anything’.
The SET also delivers Career Sparks, aimed at young people – aged 15 to 24 – not in employment, education, or training (NEET). Career Sparks has enabled SET to engage many participants from the 150-strong Inclusion football programme, many of whom have significant barriers to learning. Eight participants have become volunteers with the SET. One Career Sparks participant said: ‘’I am looking forward to moving into the traineeships programme where I can start to gain the knowledge, I need to achieve my goal”.
Post-lockdown, Kickstart and traineeships will allow young people aged 16 to 24 to gain valuable work experience including pitch maintenance at Stadium MK, working in administration and in human resources, social media, and marketing departments, as well as football coaching. All this whilst receiving educational elements and the potential to gain vital qualifications.
Across various programmes, SET works with over 70 different schools. Premier League Primary Stars is a significant programme as part of the schools’ offering; delivering extra-curricular clubs, PSHE workshops, social action projects and CPD to develop primary school teachers’ confidence in delivering PE. The Joy of Moving – a Year 5-specific, six-week health and wellbeing programme in local schools, typically reaches over 1,800 participants each year.
In addition to school-based delivery, SET hosts the Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development. Delivered in conjunction with University of South Wales, this course provides an opportunity to gain an industry-recognised coaching award whilst gaining experience and a degree in a professional football club environment.
The PL Kicks programme combines football coaching and educational workshops to engage young people aged nine to 18. The programme is aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) and building positive attitudes and relationships in local communities. The programme has been delivered to over 200 participants in the past year and can cite various examples to demonstrate the role that this programme has played in reducing ASB and crime in local areas.
The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a personal and social development programme targeted at 15 to 17-year-olds across England. Since the programme’s inception in 2011, the SET has engaged over 250 participants annually and were credited with the most successful virtual, because of COVID-19, programme in the region in 2020.
The SET is always looking for new opportunities and has always delivered an eclectic mix of courses and workshops. Its wider offer includes delivering functional skills workshops and programmes, in addition to money management, ICT and arts-based courses, which are particularly popular with women and participants aged 50 and over.
For more information on the above programmes, email: email@example.com or visit the website www.mkdonsset.com