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MK Dons apprenticeship | Charlie Walker and Joel Anchor

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MK Dons is a professional football club playing in the English Football League One, the third tier of The English Football League system.  The club was founded in 2004, following Wimbledon FC’s  relocation to Milton Keynes from its south London home, when it adopted its present name, badge, and home colours.

What was your pathway into an apprenticeship?

Both Joel and Charlie joined the MK Dons football apprenticeship scheme after they completed their year 11 GCSEs but they had been involved with academy level football which is there to support young players as they develop long before this.

The two year apprenticeship will see them ultimately achieve a Level 3 BTEC and they can extend this with further learning and a diploma. This will enable them to gain extra UCAS points and will help them to keep their options open in the future if they decide to go to university, or to continue the route to becoming a professional footballer.

Both followed a similar route from a young age and had been playing for local clubs. Their goal is to secure a professional contract with the club, however the sport is very competitive at every stage.

How has it worked?

Joel and Charlie don’t have a typical day as their week varies. Monday is a busy day with a three hour college session, followed by lunch, training and a gym session. Training and gym sessions continue throughout the week and more college time is spent on a Thursday. Friday however sees an exciting build up to preparing for their weekly match. The team play in a league with nine other apprenticeship teams, giving them valuable match day experience every Saturday.

What advice would you give to someone considering the programme?

Both players agree that you must continue to work hard every single day and to be 100% committed as it is both physically challenging and naturally very competitive. Something many teenagers might find difficult with so many other things competing for their time and attention.

There is no doubt that the players are very physically fit and this level of fitness continues throughout the year except for a three week break at the end of the season in May.

What next?

Both players are hoping that they will receive a professional contract at the end of the apprenticeship and that it will lead them to play for the MK Dons first team.

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