FORMER Brewers Academy player Jake Davies is one of another crop of former apprentices have been sent out to Sweden via League Football Education’s Erasmus+ Player Placement programme, which sends players out to Scandinavia for three months.
Over 200 ex-academy footballers have been involved since the scheme began in 2008, with around 40 per cent gaining professional contracts following the initial placement period.
Davies was a scholar with the Young Brewers for the last two seasons. At the end of his scholarship last summer, he was unable to earn a professional contract with Burton Albion, but that was not the end of his footballing life.
He will spend the three months with Ytterhogdals IK, who play in the fourth tier of Swedish football.
The Academy is committed to developing better players and better people that have the skills to find a career outside of the club, should they not make it from the youth team into the first team at the end of their scholarships.
Academy Head of Education and Welfare Paul Reynolds says that this is a good example of the pathway that our Young Brewers have into a career, even if it is not at the club or football in general.
He said: “It is good that Jake is out there, it is a great opportunity for him. We as a club also work alongside Burton and South Derbyshire College as part of our education strategy to help to create opportunities in the United States, in terms of scholarships.
“We have had players do this in the past and it is another avenue that the lads can go down if they do not get a professional contract here.
“Education is very important to us, we take it very seriously as an Academy. Right from the start of the players’ scholarships, we are talking to them about pathways. That might be going to university, there are a couple of players who have been offered university places, should they not earn a professional contract. That’s really good.
“We understand that the players want to focus on playing here, but it is important to create these opportunities for them."
LFE Project coordinator Elaine Brand said: “The placement programme provides players with a unique opportunity to live in another country, experience a different culture and play football beyond Under-18 level at a well-established club.
“Players with an enthusiasm to do more and the determination to make the most of any situation can really benefit from this type of placement. It allows them to gain life skills, learn a new language and develop as a player, while immersing themselves in the day-to-day life of a new culture.
“Many are fortunate in gaining a contract with the club, others come away with valuable experience which they can apply elsewhere, but all end the 12-week placement having improved their football performance and enhanced their career prospects.”