Staff and students past and present gathered at Goodison Park on Wednesday (15 February 2023) as Everton's Academy Sport Science department hosted an event to celebrate an internship programme run in partnership with The Football Exchange, part of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University.
The programme sees around 10 of the university’s final-year Sport and Exercise Science undergraduates undertake a paid internship with Everton Academy every season.
Learning from industry professionals
Now in its 12th year, the programme gives students the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and gain vital skills and experience in the various disciplines within the field, including strength and conditioning, nutrition, performance analysis and psychology.
The internships have continued to create pathways into elite sport for students, with more than 70 graduates of the programme currently working in professional sport around the world. After leaving the programme, graduates can access further support and mentorship too.
A mixture of alumni, Academy staff and first and second-year undergraduates were in attendance at the People’s Club Lounge to hear from a variety of speakers.
After a welcome from John McKeown, the Club’s Head of Academy Sports Science, the event opened with a panel discussion on how the programme has helped people progress into the football industry over more than a decade.
Staff from Everton Academy and former graduates now working across sport also presented their research in presentations that covered the impact of growth and maturation on young players, the use of psychology in the youth development phase, feedback and communication styles, and how data is used for football research and performance insights.
'Invaluable experience in an elite environment'
On the partnership, McKeown commented: “I’ve been at Everton for 14 years now, and it’s a pleasure to have been able to develop this programme right from the start.
“The students’ enthusiasm and ideas really help our senior Academy staff that they are shadowing, and in return they get invaluable experience in an elite environment.
“Our relationship with the team at Liverpool John Moores University ensures that the students coming in have already gained experience elsewhere and understand what working in performance sports means so they are as ready as they can be to hit the ground running.
“I’d like to thank Martin and his team for their continued collaboration and look forward to continuing the partnership going forwards.”
'Practical, hands-on experience of sports science'
Dr Martin Littlewood, Reader in Performance Psychology & Head of The Football Exchange at LJMU, added: “Through this programme we aim to give our students practical, hands-on experience of sports science.
“Over the years we’ve found that we’ve partnered with a local club that is exceptionally open to developing people and the students really enjoy learning and growing in the challenging, dynamic environment of professional football.
“As a university that is about really enhancing the student experience and graduate employability, we’re really fortunate and are proud to be associated with Everton Football Club.”
Study at LJMU
For more information about the career-enhancing student placements available through study with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, read their feature on students turning a passion for football into a career.
Find out more about opportunities to study with LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences