Two young people from Birmingham are among the first candidates to join a new accounting apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with Premier League football club Aston Villa.
Kiemara Fields and Aaron Banks will study for an accounting qualification at college whilst also developing leadership skills through football coaching.
They will also undergo paid apprenticeships in Birmingham with companies including banks and international accounting firms.
The scheme, which is aimed at 16 to 19 year-olds, is organised by social mobility charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB), which aims to transform the lives of young people by helping them to find full-time jobs.
Head of Villa in the Community Ravinder Masih said: “We’re pleased to have recruited the first young people to this exciting new programme, including Kiemara and Aaron.
“We know from our work in communities across Birmingham that there are many very bright and talented young people who may never get the opportunity to embark on a career with blue-chip companies without support from a programme like this.
“Birmingham has a thriving and rapidly growing finance sector, and we’re proud to be supporting young people from across Birmingham’s communities to gain apprenticeships with renowned businesses.
“This programme is a fantastic opportunity, and I encourage any young person from local communities with an interest in accounting to apply to join Kiemara and Aaron and work hard towards a bright future.”
Caroline Adair, executive director at LTSB, said: “This is the first time we have operated in the West Midlands and we are very proud to be offering apprenticeships through an iconic club like Aston Villa.
“The high cost of studying at university, plus the fact that many companies are crying out for young people with good employability skills, means that apprenticeships are now more important than ever.
“We offer young people from state schools or disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to transform their lives by training for a great career while they are earning.
“The things you learn while playing sport or coaching - like good communication and teamwork - are highly valued by employers.
“Our programme also teaches the importance of basic requirements like good presentation and punctuality. This means our apprentices actually often have a head start in the jobs market over many graduates.”
Apprentices who join the Villa scheme will study for an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification through South & City College in Birmingham.
More places are available on the scheme and a recruitment day will be taking place at Villa Park on September 4.
Anyone interested in applying should email email@example.com.