FA Women’s Football Apprentices win top college awards

Two FA Women’s Football Apprentices have been recognised by their colleges for their outstanding achievements this year.

Leah Burridge from Bridgwater & Taunton College received the award for Outstanding Individual Contribution at the college’s annual Support and Teaching staff Achievement and Recognition (STAR) Awards.
Luci Hillier won the Apprentice of the Year trophy at the Isle of Wight College’s end of year awards.

Both Leah and Luci are one of 17 FA Women’s Football Apprentices recruited by the ECFA to increase female participation in football. What these awards show is the positive impact the apprentices are having on their colleges and local communities.

Leah has been instrumental to the development of student engagement in football, and has helped to develop self-esteem, self-worth and confidence within these students via her role as The FA and Bridgwater & Taunton College Women and Girls Football Apprentice.

Since starting her post in July 2017, Leah has smashed her target set by the FA, which was to engage 100 new girls through football within 12 months. Since being in post she has engaged over 600 girls within seven months, with plans to reach 1,000 participants within 12 months.

Women’s Football Apprentice Luci Hillier

Leah, who is studying the NVQ Level 3 in Supporting the Delivery of Physical Education and School Sport, said: “I felt honoured and overwhelmed that I won the 2018 STAR Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution. I never imagined to be the first apprentice to do so and am extremely proud to be making such an impact within the college.”


Fellow apprentice Luci has also made a huge impact on her community on the Isle of Wight and has established good links with her local primary and secondary schools.

A local headteacher invited her to assembly and she is now seen as a local female role model in sport. She also caught the eye of the ECFA with her highly effective partnership working, which resulted in a message about her amazing work reaching the desk of Baroness Sue Campbell, Head of Women’s Football at the FA.

Luci is now working with 20 primary schools offering after school club activities for girls, she has run half-term clubs at the college’s futsal arena and is part of a very successful FA initiative called Wildcats, which is being rolled out across the island. Luci has been an inspiration to other apprentices, a leader and a motivator for others.

The ECFA have recruited apprentices for the coming year and will be providing personal development training later this month.

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