This week saw the official launch of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation's Football & Education Development Centre run in partnership with Southgate College.
Since the start of the academic year, the project has worked closely with a group of 38 young men aged 16 - 19, who had been identified as being not in education, employment or training (NEET) or at risk of becoming NEET, before being recruited to the Development Centre through outreach work already undertaken by the Foundation within Tottenham Hotspur's local community.
One thing they all had in common was a passion for playing football, and through the Development Centre, the Foundation have been able to use the hook of the game to keep these young men engaged within the College Education system.
It links football theory, Academy standard coaching and affiliated league and cup competitions with a range of academic studies.
The group have been given the opportunity to enroll on full-time BTEC level 2 or 3 courses with the potential to continue onto a foundation degree in Sports Development and Coaching. A levels are also available as an option.
A permanent team of qualified staff from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Southgate College deliver the coaching and teaching elements of the programme.
Learners use facilities at the college, the White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre, and at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club over the duration of the year.
Classroom sessions fit around the football training and playing element of the programme, and an elite squad has been selected from the students to compete at college level both locally and nationally.
This week, the group were given the chance to take part in a one-off training session at our Spurs Lodge training ground under the watchful eye of Harry Redknapp and his coaching staff.
Harry took part in a question and answer session with the group before Joe Jordan, Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand helped out with the coaching.
Redknapp said: "It was great to meet the guys and to see that they are being given the opportunity to play the game they love in a competitive environment as well as continuing with their academic studies.
"I just told them that they're all still young enough to achieve whatever they want to achieve if they work hard at it, and I hope they take that message with them."
Southgate College's Principal, David Byrne, said: "The College was looking for new ways to see how we could improve the lives of more young people we work with, and our partnership with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has been perfect in us achieving that.
"For many of the group, this opportunity has been life-changing, and the chance to work with the Foundation has raised discipline standards among participants and introduced new techniques and ways of working to them.
"Some of these lads have come from very difficult environments and engaging in education can be difficult, so they need a hook, and football has given them this and enabled them to excel both in a sporting and academic sense."
The next phase of the programme will be the introduction of a new Football & Education Development Centre for girls at the College as of the start of the next school year, with continued coaching through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.