The latest Chelsea FC Foundation Coaching and Development Degree cohort participated in an insightful induction week, including a guest speech from a former student who is now a key figure at Chelsea Football Club.

The programme is a unique partnership between Chelsea FC Foundation and St Mary’s University where students study a variety of modules, developing an in-depth understanding of the football industry across coaching, performance analysis, project management and social change.

First-year students enjoyed activities at St Mary’s University throughout the week including a team-building day and a social football tournament at the university’s Teddington Lock campus.

All students were then invited to a final induction day at Stamford Bridge, which included an exclusive tour of the stadium for the first-year students, plus the opportunity to hear from Chelsea FC’s co-director recruitment and talent, Joe Shields.

Shields, a former St Mary’s University student, spoke about his time at the university and how that experience has led him to where he is today.

Shields said: ‘It was fantastic to meet the Chelsea Foundation degree students and an honour to support them by explaining my journey through the football industry. There was a lot of passion for football in the room and for Chelsea Foundation to be giving these young people the opportunity to study and turn that passion into education is really impressive. The learnings the students take from the programme is really going to be the key advantage for whatever they want do in the football industry in the future.’

As part of the day, students also enjoyed a networking workshop where they were able to network with each other along with Chelsea FC, Chelsea Foundation and St Mary’s staff.

Conal Murnin, project officer at Chelsea Foundation, said: ‘It was brilliant to welcome our students to Stamford Bridge for a truly inspiring day and it was amazing to see staff from across the University, Chelsea FC and Chelsea Foundation in attendance.

‘We are very proud that we can offer these unique opportunities for students to connect with expert practitioners. Joe’s talk was insightful and thought-provoking, and will serve as a source of inspiration for our students as they continue on their journey.’

Alex Cattini, course lead at St Mary’s University, said: ‘We were delighted to welcome Joe and other Chelsea FC and Foundation staff to our induction day. Our students were fortunate to receive brilliant insights from industry-leading professionals. This event showcased the strength of the relationship between St Mary’s and Chelsea FC Foundation, and we are excited to continue working together to support our students moving forwards and provide exciting opportunities.’