Nottingham's first-ever football course opens in 'football city' that is 'steeped in tradition'

Carl Ara, Assistant Principal at Nottingham College's Basford campus, says he believes that the rise in women's football has made sports 'more accessible and more mainstream'
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham College)

Students will now be able to enrol on a football degree course for the first time in Nottingham. BA (Hons) Football Studies will be taught at Nottingham College's Basford campus from September and the college says it will provide students with the skills they need to work in the football industry.

The three-year course, which is validated by the Open University and associated with Notts County FC, includes modules on psychology, business, coaching, talent identification and analysis. Carl Ara is the assistant principal at Nottingham College's Basford campus and he says there was a clear demand for the course.

He said: "We initially took some feedback from students about two years ago and football studies was clearly something of interest, not only across the city but across the county and beyond. Although the course is called football studies, actually what the students will study is a lot of transferable skills they can take into many industries.

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"The course isn't solely designed for elite-level support. We're trying to open up a lot of pathways, whether it be community level volunteering in football such as working with under-10 teams or going down that elite level route."

Nottingham's sports industry is a huge part of the city, with football teams Forest and County nationally recognised. The college says this has been a factor in the wide levels of interest the course has received.

Carl said: "We’ve had interest from a wide demographic including Wales and Scotland, but then across the Midlands, we’ve really seen a lot of interest. We've got two enormous teams here in Nottingham who are well-known, they are historic, they have a great reputation and tradition; we're steeped in tradition here as a football city.

"I think the Euros has also had a real impact, but also the rise in women's football has played a really big part. It's made sports more accessible and more mainstream.

"I think people are applying who, five years ago, wouldn’t have applied because they didn’t feel there was a space for them. It now feels that in all sports there is far more accessible support across a wider demographic than we have ever seen."

The new football degree course will take place at Nottingham College's Basford campus
The new football degree course will take place at Nottingham College's Basford campus -Credit:Nottingham College

There has been a trend in recent years of football degree-level courses becoming more common at UK universities, however, the course on offer at Nottingham College looks to be the first of its kind in the East Midlands. The college says it would not rule out future courses in other sports, such as cricket or basketball.

Carl said: "We never rule out anything, and ultimately the college is guided by wherever there is a skills gap in delivery. We need to fill that with meaningful courses that allow progression in that area of employment.

"If we get two or three years down the line and realise that there are more courses that could be created and more demand in the city, then it's up to us to subsequently react to that."