South West College (SWC), in association with Ballinamallard United FC, are pleased to announce plans for the launch of a new full-time Level 3 Football Academy, commencing at the SWC, Erne Campus in September 2022, and is now open for applications.

This exciting partnership will offer opportunities to aspiring footballers across the region to enhance their skills from the age of 16 plus whilst also undertaking a BTEC Level 3 Qualification (3 A Level equivalent) in Sport and Exercise Science.

The programme will combine academic study, sporting excellence and an opportunity to gain relevant industry qualifications such as coaching, officiating and fitness instruction.

Students will also have the opportunity to gain “real-life” work-based experiences in various roles within the club, which is County Fermanagh’s most senior football club providing a pathway from mini soccer to the Premiership via a thriving Academy structure.

The academic side of the course will be enhanced with a minimum of eight hours per week of football-related content. This will consist of personal, technical and tactical development, strength and conditioning for football, sports nutrition and sports psychology for football.

Each student will also commence a coaching education programme and gain national governing body qualifications, allowing participants to begin their coaching careers to increase employability and provide them with an edge when applying to higher education.

Aimee Neal, studying a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise alongside her football career with Sion Swifts Ladies and the Northern Ireland U19s would recommend studying Sport and Exercise courses locally, at the College, as they are designed to support athletes and those with a natural interest.

“In terms of the academic programme, over the past two years, my experience at South West College has been enjoyable. I highly recommended coming to South West College for both as I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience during my time."

Aimee added: "South West College has also made me gain independency as I am not relying on people to do the work and assignments for me. Coming here has opened a lot of pathways to study in the future and has given me a better idea of what I want to go on and do in the future therefore I recommend students male and female to come to South West College.”

Chris Mc Dowell, Programme Coordinator for the new Football Academy at South West College, said:

“In association with Ballinamallard United FC, we are delighted to launch this exciting new initiative that is ideal for both male and females hoping to pursue a career in the sport or health industry, physical education or are interested in how the body works. It will provide the platform for progression in their sporting performance and progression into higher and further education.”

Successful completion of the course can lead to relevant Higher Education courses, for example, the Foundation Degree and BSc in Sport and Exercise at SWC and can also be combined with other subjects to form part of a UCAS/ University application.

For further information on the new Football Academy programme contact Chris McDowell: or to apply, see below.

Level 3 Football Academy