STUDENTS now have the opportunity to combine academic qualifications and sport thanks to a new football academy.

Furness College has teamed up with Barrow AFC to launch a new College Football Academy.

The academy will start this September for 16-18-year-olds who want careers in sports and related industries and there will be an Open Evening next month for those interested in applying for a place.

Senior staff at the college met with two of the club's owners Paul Hornby and Mark Hetherington and general manager Rob Graham last month to finalise the programme.

Successful applicants will gain a place on the two-year Level 3 BTEC in Sport and split their time between study at the Channelside campus and playing, coaching, training and learning about the business aspects of the club. They will have the opportunity to play with the club’s existing professional teams.

Mark Nicholson, deputy principal for curriculum and quality, urged any 16-18 year olds with a passion for sport to come to an open evening at Holker Street on June 12 at 6pm.

“We have been very impressed by the commitment of the new owners to both football and the community and we are now ready to launch a unique qualification in partnership with the club," he said.

“Football is a game where a combination of technical, tactical, physical and mental skills are needed to achieve at the highest level. These skills are also transferable to any employment situation."

Barrow AFC Chairman Paul Hornby said the club was delighted to partner with Furness College.

"It’s another example of Barrow AFC immersing itself back into the community, by helping retain children in education through sport. Mark and his team at the College couldn’t have been more helpful in making this partnership work and we look forward to a strong relationship going forward."

The club's General Manager Rob Graham said: "The development of a post 16 football academy at Barrow AFC, in partnership with Furness College, is an exciting prospect. It will provide a further educational pathway for the youngsters of our local community through a programme that will include technical and coaching development, alongside the study of a BTEC course.

“Going forward, Barrow AFC is committed to serving the local area and providing opportunities for young people within the Barrow and Furness district."

For more information about the College Football Academy and to register, visit