Head of community Craig Rutherford is hoping the students who will be involved in the new partnership between Barrow AFC and Furness College will feel they are part of an academy set-up at the club.

It’s still early days on the football side, after the agreement between the two parties was put in place last week, with the successful applicants being placed a two-year Level 3 BTEC in Sport that begins in September.

Rutherford is keen to stress that the college side of things remains the priority at present, as the club’s tie-in aims to assist the students into career pathways, whether that’s in football or not.

As of yet, details on how often the youngsters would train with the Bluebirds haven’t been finalised, but it’s hoped that the club will be able to form a stronger under-18 team off the back of it.

Rutherford said: “I’m going to meet with the college at the end of next week and we can look at how the college want to put the curriculum together for the BTEC and stuff like that.

“We’ll then look at how we can link the football into that and move it forward from there, so it’s still in something of its infancy so far from a football point of view.

“Once we get the college side of things finalised and what the course is going to entail, we’ll look at when they’re going to train, how often they’re going to train and what other additions we can put in.

“I want them to feel like they are part of an academy set-up when they’re in there, so I want to include analysis sessions, strength and conditioning sessions on top of the training.

“It all depends on the time available once the college curriculum has been put in place and that’s the key bit because we want them to have great opportunities when they finish that two-year programme.”

An open evening will be held at AFC’s Holker Street ground at 6pm on June 12 for those interested in joining the Education Programme, where they will learn practical business skills while developing their games with the Bluebirds.

The young players who will be involved look set to play in a college league, similar to the set-up the Barrow Raiders rugby league team have with their under-19s, the Furness Raiders.

Rutherford said: “It really is exciting and we’re all looking forward to getting it started.

“We just hope that with the timing of it, because Year 11 have kind of finished now ahead of GCSEs, that we’ll get a good attendance at these open evenings.

“We can build from there and share what the vision is going to be and we’ll have the vision by the end of next week.”