Walsall Football Club are looking for a Head of Academy Player Care to work within the Academy.
The Academy is seeking an outstanding individual to take up a brand-new role. We are seeking an enthusiastic and self-motivated individual to support the holistic development of players, families, and staff. The Academy Player Care Officer will work on the personal development of young people as both a person and a player.
The individual will be responsible for developing a comprehensive wellbeing programme covering topics such as mental health awareness, life skills, and building relationships to ensure that our players are ready for life in, and beyond, football. The role will also involve coordinating and overseeing the induction and transition of Academy players, the Academy life skills programme and support across wider department/Academy programmes.
The ideal candidate will have experience in working with and supporting young people in an elite environment, with the ability to understand the emotional and wellbeing challenges this may bring. You will have experience in developing and implementing programmes, be an excellent communicator and with the ability to build trusted working relationships.
Roles and Responsibilities
- To develop and implement a Player Care programme for all players across the three phases of the Academy to provide the best possible care, support and development so they can maximise their potential both on and off the pitch.
- Design, develop and implement a player induction process for newly registered players into the Academy as well as supporting existing players who progress through the pathway to ensure they are comfortable within our environment.
- Design, develop and implement a strategy to support player transitions through age groups, phase groups, player release and progression from the Academy.
- To develop and implement a comprehensive Life Skills programme for all players across the three phases of the Academy linking in with specialist staff internally and externally, to ensure individual players develop skills and qualities to make a positive contribution to society.
- Represent Player Care as part of the club’s MDT & building relationships across all departments of the Academy so that player care is embedded across the Academy.
- To develop, implement and oversee the Academy's Personal Development programme including Individual Development Action Plans.
- Engage with parents/guardians through consistent regular dialogue and support the Head of Education in developing and coordinating age-specific parent workshops across the Academy phases.
- Support the Head of Education and Head of Safeguarding to design, develop, implement and review an education programme for all academy players, parents and staff.
- Attend (where appropriate) tours and trips, leading on all Player Care and Wellbeing matters pre, during and post trips.
- Establish and promote a Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan. Ensure staff and players receive training as per PL Rules.
- Work with Players (and where relevant staff and parents) on a one to one basis and ensure they are aware of internal and external expert support.
- Seek out opportunities for the Scholars to attend sessions within the community to understand the community in which they work.
- To lead the Parent and Player voice initiatives to ensure that young people and parents have a voice in the Academy.
- Attend operational meetings and phase-specific meetings as well as organise and attend any external meetings organised by the Premier League / EFL and other stakeholders.
- Be the principal point of contact for the EFL/PL and relevant governing bodies for all matters relating to areas within Player Care.
- Supporting the Head of Education and the Academy Safeguarding Officer with safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in our care across the player pathway.
- Work with the Head of Safeguarding to ensure that the Academy is compliant with EPPP requirements for audit.
- Ensure records are kept up to date on PMA, My Concern and all other elements of the Audit in relation to Player Care are in place.
- To be a member of the Academy Leadership Team.
- Be a presence across all age groups to make sure that the young players and their parents know whom to speak to with any worries or concerns they may have.
- To maintain player information confidentiality and professional practice at all times.
- To act, at all times, in a manner appropriate to a representative of the football club.
- Hold a commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace.
- Hold a flexible approach to work.
- Follow all Club Policies, such as Equality & Diversity, Health & Safety, Safeguarding, Anti-Corruption & Bribery and GDPR.
- Adhere to a strict Code of Confidentiality in respect of any information relating to the Football Club and its operation
- Make suggestions to improve the working environment and contribute to positive employee relations within your area of work and the Football Club as a whole
- Take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and other employees and members of the public who may be affected by your acts or omissions at work
- Comply with all aspects of the Club’s Club Health and Safety Policy and Arrangements, to enable the Company to perform its civil and statutory obligations in relation to Health & Safety
- Ensure effective communication within your work team whilst actively offering support and guidance, as necessary
The position will involve working irregular hours (e.g., evenings/weekends/Bank Holidays) based around academy team schedules.
Qualifications / Memberships
- Current FA Safeguarding Children qualification
- Mental Health First Aider (or working towards)
- Educated to degree level in a relevant field (e.g. wellbeing, psychology, sport science, social sciences).
- Enhanced DBS
- FA Welfare Officer
- Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support Level 3
- Counselling Skills Level 1 or above
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training
Skills, Knowledge and Experience
- Experience and knowledge of working with young people eg: in education / youth work
- Knowledge in the emotional and wellbeing demands on elite performers.
- Knowledge on safeguarding and welfare
- Experience in developing and implementing programmes, initiatives and interventions.
- Experience in managing staff and a department.
- Previous experience working in Academy football
- Previous experience in an elite performance environment and/or working with elite performers.
- Knowledge of counselling/psychology – working towards counselling certificate or TALS
This role will require an enhanced DBS check.
Due to this post being in regulated activity, the potential employee will be required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check at the appropriate level.
Walsall FC is an Equal Opportunities Employer and recognises the importance of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in our work place.
How to apply
Applicants have until 5pm on Friday 12th August to submit their application.
Interviews will take place the week commencing 22nd August.