Greenock Morton can today announce the launch of a new apprenticeship programme which will see eight youngsters given the opportunity to develop and be supported into the world of professional football as apprentices at the club.
As well as helping to develop these players hopefully towards the First Team, the apprenticeship programme will give each person the opportunity to achieve formal qualifications and enjoy every support of Morton throughout and beyond their Apprenticeship journey.
The initiative is the first key outcome of a review of the Youth Academy jointly instigated by the Club Board and Club owner Morton Club Together (MCT). This review is designed to optimise the Youth Academy which is seen as a critical part of Morton’s structure and a key contributor to the chances of sustainable success on the field and across the local community.
Honorary Director at the Club, Graham McLennan, is a member of the team leading the ongoing review of the Youth Academy along with Ross Gourdie, Club Board member and David McCluskey, Chair of MCT.
Graham said, “MCT has consistently said that youth development is an imperative part of a strong Morton. The name Morton Club Together says it all. We need to have every part of the club, including the community, working closely together for the same aims. We set up this Youth Academy review team to ensure that the Youth Academy is supported in delivering its role in this objective.”
The Youth Academy review team is intended to continue and to leave no stone unturned with the aim of Morton Youth Academy being the best it can be. Ross Gourdie, Club Board member added: “Our work is an important part of what’s going on across the club to move Morton forward. The review team has worked with, and will continue to work with, key stakeholders of the Club and externally to lever their expertise and resources.
“The development of the new apprenticeship programme has focussed on working with the First Team Manager, the Head of Youth, and the Boards of both the Club and MCT to ensure that what we are creating is best for the Club and the community. We have also chosen to work with Skills For Scotland who are experts in delivering primarily the educational aspect of the Apprenticeships.”
The new programme is underway, and the apprentices will be engaged in it for 24 months. The Head of Youth will work closely with all apprentices on a day-to-day basis.
Apprentices will continue to play for the Youth Academy Under 18s and eight apprentices will make up the first year. The flexibility of our new Morton Apprenticeship programme, to provide the best opportunities for inclusion, also extends to, for example, allowing participants to be able to study at school or elsewhere at the same time as being an Apprentice, for other qualification.
Chair of Morton Club Together, David McCluskey commented, “The Morton apprenticeship programme has been designed around what we all believe fits best with Morton and our needs. Of course, we want all participants to make it as Morton First Team players, however, we all know how hard that is for the young people to achieve. So, the first priority for the Club is that each young person enjoys their apprenticeships in a happy and supportive environment and, even if they don’t make it as a professional footballer, the Morton apprentices all secure the best opportunities for the next stage in their life.”
Financially, the Apprenticeship programme could not be possible without the support of Dalrada and Morton Club Together, with both organisations increasing their financial contributions to the Club immediately, on top of their respective ongoing, significant and crucial financial contributions to the Club, which will also continue.