Chelsea Academy schoolboys made the most of their football downtime over the summer.

The boys took part in a new Work Explorience programme designed to showcase the different careers connected to a football club, as well as explore the players’ own interests away from the pitch.

Working alongside club partners, external companies and Chelsea staff, players from our Under-15 age group were given an insight into the varied jobs that are carried out in football in a scheme run in partnership with Careers in Football, an organisation that works with people who want to get into the industry.

A day at Stamford Bridge started with colleagues from our HR department leading on workshops around leadership development and the inner workings of contract negotiations and agreements. Our partners at Nike were also involved in the session, outlining the exciting roles and opportunities available within their organisation.There were visits to Willis Towers Watson, the global advisory, broking and solutions company, and time spent exploring the inner workings of the fashion industry, where the boys were taught about marketing strategies, creative design and implementation.‘By doing this, it just broadens all our minds,’ said Charlie Webster, one of our Academy players. ‘It’s not all about playing football all of the time because you can move into another career or use what you’ve done in the game to help you further down the line.’

The group finished by exploring digital opportunities within the sports industry, focusing on the STEM core subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. There was a focus on how data and analysis form the cornerstone of how modern computer games remain so accurate and realistic despite the changing conditions of the football landscape.At the end of the week, Academy head of player care Jack Francis reflected on the involvement of our young players in the innovative scheme.‘It’s been a fantastic few days for our boys to get out of the Cobham bubble and get a taste of the wider world, while also keeping the content as relevant to possible to football, which they are naturally so passionate about,’ he said.

‘The initiative is the first of its kind at the club, and will hopefully allow us to build and grow future personal development programmes. It's important that we continue to add to the boys’ social capital, allowing them to develop into well-rounded individuals who make the correct decisions off the pitch, whether that be dual interests, alternative careers at the relevant time, or just being able to have higher level day-to-day interactions with a variety of people.’