Female participation in football is on the rise. Millions of women and girls up and down the country are playing football in some form, and more than ever, they are aspiring to have careers within the football industry.
Saints Foundation’s Education programmes have always catered for young women who are seeking a future in football, and one of the first to have benefited from it is Jordan Bradshaw.
Jordan, 19, was part of the first female cohort at St Mary’s in 2015, and since then her commitment to carving out a career in sport has never waivered.
“The Education programmes at Saints Foundation are something different,” Jordan said. “Being able to study at St Mary’s Stadium is inspiring, and the independence we are afforded by the staff here let’s us develop in our own way.”
Historically, the path for women and girls to get into football has always been harder, but at Saints Foundation Jordan found it was quite the opposite.
“I feel like I’ve been given exactly the same opportunities as the boys. The female game is growing rapidly and Saints Foundation are definitely on board and doing everything they can to contribute to that growth.”
“The thing that stuck with me the most was the level of support the female cohort received from our lecturers and coaches at Saints, we were never made to feel like we didn’t belong here and were always valued just as much as the boys on the programme. That was definitely one of the reasons why my time here has been so enjoyable.”
A huge part of Saints Foundation’s Education programmes is creating unique opportunities for those on its courses. Industry-based experience is crucial for any young professional aiming to break into sport, and it’s something the Foundation can offer in abundance.
“I’ve been offered so many unique opportunities, I gained my Level 1 coaching badge as soon as I started the course, I’ve completed a specific programme to become a female referee, but the most valuable experience has been doing work experience within the Foundation itself, which has offered me a real insight into the industry.”
After completing the BTEC programme, Jordan made the decision to take on the Foundation Degree in Football Coaching and Community Development, also run at St Mary’s.
“I’ve just finished my first year on the Foundation Degree, and I can definitely say staying with Saints Foundation was the right decision.”
“I’m working towards my degree, I’m getting paid coaching work through the Foundation’s different charitable programmes, and I’m getting to put my academic studies into practice in a professional environment. With two years left to go I’m happy with the path I’m on and I’m excited about my future career in sport.”
“If I could pass on a message to a young girl looking to get into football, I would tell them to get involved now. Female football is only going to get bigger and become more respected, and if they can, Saints Foundation is definitely a good place to start.”