New era for NPL education academy

By James Gordon

The NPL are delighted to announce it has agreed an exclusive two-year partnership with Eliteform who currently manage the League education academy programme.

The new agreement will see Eliteform continue to manage and deliver to NPL Clubs and become the NPL official Education Academy partners in both Further Education and Higher Education.

Both the education and football programmes of the NPLFA now come under Eliteform's management, with the NPL receiving an annual licence fee for the re-branded ESPFA. Although the NPL will no longer have any active role in the management of the programme and the NPLFA's League Management Committee will be disbanded, the League will continue to promote the partnership through its website and social media.

The existing programme which has been successfully running since its inception in 2015 and grown from five clubs to 13 will now fall under Elite form's full control in delivering the education programme and also continue to comply with FA rules and regulations in delivering the games programme, replacing the current model administered by the League.

The new licence agreement will see both the NPL and Eliteform being able to focus and deliver on their core specialised areas with Eliteform being rebranded under the ESPFA banner.

NPL Chairman Mark Harris said: "After five years, the NPLFA programme has become an established part of the NPL offering to our Clubs. However, it is time-consuming and we have to recognise that the League has no specialist expertise in either Further or Higher education. With limited resources, we now need to focus our attention fully on the needs of all 62 clubs.

"This new licence agreement enables us to get on with what we do best, and allows Eliteform to focus on developing and expanding the programme for the benefit of our member Clubs. We are proud the NPL played a leading role in getting this project off the ground and established and I wish the programme, and the Clubs who participate, every success going forward."

NPL clubs who are also members of the NPLFA will not see any changes to the content or management of the programme.

Eliteform will continue to be wholly responsible for recruiting clubs and students, and is also now responsible for maintaining the integrity of the football programme. Eliteform is responsible for ensuring NPL Clubs' compliance with their Service Level Agreements, which are agreed between the two parties with no input from the League.

The Eliteform Board affirmed: "We are delighted to continue with the partnership and we hope to build on the successful progression we have achieved in the five years since we started.

"The programme has surpassed all our expectations and we are looking forward to continuing to provide our service to existing clubs and new clubs who wish to join. The new structure suits both the NPL and ourselves and it provides many exciting opportunities moving forward for the students who join the programme and the clubs.

"The students are front and centre of what we do. We would like to thank NPL Chairman Mark Harris who provided the opportunity and support to create such an innovative programme and we can all be proud of what was created and achieved. Many of our students now have a FE and HE education and opportunity for a successful future. We are excited about the partnership which we hope will continue to grow and be here for many years to come."

The programme, which has now expanded to the Southern League, will see a new programme model introduced next year and added incentives for students and clubs. For any clubs requiring more information or wishing to join the programme please visit the NPLFA website.

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