The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s next generation of stars will be travelling in style next season after the NPLFA secured a new travel partner for the 2016-17 campaign.
Staffordshire-based Bakers Travel were unveiled on Thursday after signing a one year deal to provide travel provision for the ground-breaking league wide academy which was founded at five pilot clubs in 2014 and is preparing to expand to 11 clubs in September when it welcomes its third intake of more than 200 students.
The Evo-Stik NPL is the first league in English football to operate a youth league and academy combining football with further education and officials at the NPLFA are delighted to be teaming up with Bakers Travel who already provide matchday travel for a number of semi-professional and professional clubs including Crewe Alexandra and Port Vale along as well academy travel for others like West Bromwich Albion.
A spokesman for the successful football and education programme said: “It has been a real coup for the academy to secure such a forward and growing company to be responsible for the provision of travel. Travel for clubs in this type of education programme can be costly and the help and support of Bakers will help significantly reduce those costs.
Bakers transport manager David Parkes and public relations officer Debbie Windle are pictured at the launch of the new partnership on Thursday with Leek Town’s NPLFA players and their head coach John Mayer.
Bakers spokesman Parker said: “We are delighted to be involved and be in partnership with the Northern Premier League Football Academy. We will be providing the youngsters with an opportunity and experience on at least one occasion of first team travel at a professional level alongside regular quality travel provision.
“We have helped with the programme this season by taking all the clubs to St George’s Park and having seen the enthusiasm involved, we are looking forward to our partnership. We pride ourselves on being a community minded company and are delighted to be involved in such a unique football and education concept.”
Launched with the backing of the Football Association to provide career pathways into the football industry, the NPLFA’s 16 to 18-year-old students study on two year courses for Level 3 Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications while training on a daily basis with UEFA qualified coaches and competing in the NPL Youth League and the FA Youth Cup.