A winning partnership with Grimsby Town has kicked on with the handover of a new academy kit.
The Institute first linked up with the Mariners last summer, using staff expertise to run professional strength and conditioning exercises at its state-of-the-art Sports Centre.
As well as gaining hands-on experience through sports therapy and fitness testing, learners have helped film Grimsby Town games home and away.
They also have the chance to showcase their footballing talents for Mariners coaches, who are keeping tabs on Institute academy matches.
Curriculum Manager Paul Brackenbury said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this service and gain recognition from the town’s professional football team.
“We’re very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Grimsby Town and be able to expose our learners to the workings of a professional club.
“They’ve gained experience behind-the-scenes, with the training, testing and therapy side, as well as on matchdays.
“At the same time, it gives our footballers the opportunity to stay in the shop window and potentially get noticed.”
Grimsby Town Academy Manager Neil Woods said it’s “vital” the town’s major organisations work in collaboration.
“The club and the Institute have always had good links,” he added.
“This latest link-up will provide an excellent opportunity to collaborate on various projects which will be beneficial to GTFC, its players, the Institute and their learners.”
Manager Russell Slade also commented: “We are delighted that our partnership will directly benefit the Institute students by drawing on the club’s expertise in areas such as Performance Analysis, Coaching, Sports Therapy and Sports Science.
“Hopefully this will enhance their future employability while we directly benefit with more hands on deck in the day-to-day delivery of say massage therapy or analysis to players.”
One of the benefits of the collaboration is the chance for the club to improve its fitness and performance analysis using Institute facilities and learners.
GTFC Performance Analyst Asser Lutu explained: “In terms of analysis, it is an exciting opportunity and we hope it will encourage more students to get involved in relevant courses delivered by the Institute.
“Subsequently this will provide us with more students wanting to gain hands on experience in the football environment.”
Sports Scientist Greg Howard added: “So far we have benefited from the use of the excellent facilities the institute has to offer, particularly for fitness testing with the first team and the under 18s.”