Manchester United: Building an apprenticeship empire over 25 years

21 March 2017

Manchester United has been working with YMCA Training for more than a quarter of a century. The commitment promise shown by the club in that time has benefitted hundreds of young people and is one of the reasons the Premier League side received an award from Central YMCA at our annual awards ceremony in Parliament.

Developing youth on and off the pitch

The entire Manchester United organisation is built on a heritage of promoting youth from within, and with nearly half of its current 16 strong grounds team being apprentices, it is clear this commitment goes beyond the players on the pitch.

While the club benefits from the investment in its apprenticeship scheme in the long term – both financially and in developing a motivated workforce – its apprentices gain experience working for a world-famous employer.

Every apprentice gets access to professional training and the chance to gain horticulture qualifications that have been specially developed to enhance their knowledge and skills.

They are also given the chance to study further external qualifications – paid for by the club – to galvanize their CV and make them stand out in the jobs market.

Manchester United, at all levels of the club, has consistently shown a commitment to offering a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to staff progression, ensuring its workers have access to the best theoretical and practical teaching.

From dedicated teaching facilities, to specially constructed pitches that require specific knowledge of grounds-work, the club ensures its apprentices have access to the best of everything.

And YMCA’s training platform has continued to play a pivotal role in the development of staff, ensuring the ongoing professional partnership with Manchester United and YMCA has garnered significant success for all parties.

State-of-the-art training

As well as providing the best training, Manchester United has continued to ensure that apprentices benefit from the most up-to-date facilities - its AON Training Complex has been the back bone of that offering for years.

The club’s dedicated training academy has been the home of its bespoke apprentice schemes and – highlighting Manchester United’s commitment to development – has recently been refurbished with state of the art equipment to further enhance the learning environment.

Every apprentice that joins Manchester United’s famed scheme – including its six current recruits – benefit from a range of industry leading equipment in the horticulture industry, including the newest irrigation systems, underground heating facilities and laser marking machines.

This all combines to ensure every Manchester United apprentice who passes through the scheme leaves with the latest skills and knowledge, as well as the best chance of further employment – often with the club. In fact, 16 of the full time staff it currently has have come through the YMCA Training apprenticeship scheme. 

An established reputation with bigger ambitions

Manchester United’s reputation makes it one of the most sought after places to work in the world, while the club’s commitment to its workforce has only added to that reputation.

However, even after a quarter of a century providing world class training and employment opportunities, the club is not resting on its laurels and already has ambitions to grow its current academy programme, increasing job prospects for an even larger number of young people.

All of this has made Manchester United a model of how to nurture young talent and is why it is now being recognised by us at YMCA for its longstanding and ongoing commitment to apprentices.