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Future Sparks Get Passport To Sporting Careers


Young learners spend a day at Hampden thanks to Children’s University Scotland and ScottishPower Foundation

Pupils from over Scotland took a break from their studies yesterday (Sunday, 28 August), for a unique work experience opportunity at Hampden Park, the home of Scottish football. The young learners from Children’s University Scotland spent a day in the shoes of medical staff and football coaches, giving them a glimpse into the lives of people who work behind the scenes at the heart of Scotland’s national team.

The event was part of Future Sparks, a new initiative created by the ScottishPower Foundation to celebrate its ongoing partnership with Children’s University Scotland. The scheme aims to give young people a look inside the real world of work, experience careers they can consider in the future, and help to broaden their horizons.

With sport top of the agenda this summer, thanks to the Olympic Games and the European Championship, Children’s University Scotland is using this legacy to get its learners interested in the many careers associated with sport. The young learners were joined by official doctor of the Scotland National Team, Dr John MacLean, before delving in to a fun packed hour long session. They were then shown the importance of science in every aspect of football both on and off the field. They also took part in fitness tests with sports scientists, Dr Katy Stewart and Seamus McCafferty from the Hampden Sports Clinic, followed by lessons with Scottish FA coaches, Paul Brennan and Alan Milne.

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower Foundation Trustee, said: “We have awarded funding to Children’s University Scotland for the past three years now as part of our commitment to the advancement of education and supporting young people. It was great to take part in the Future Sparks session at Hampden and see firsthand the amazing work that Children's University does to help children grow their skills and have bright, inspiring futures.”

Mary de la Pena, CEO, Children’s University Scotland, said: “The Future Sparks campaign is a great opportunity to spend ‘a day in the life’ of many interesting professionals and for young learners to start thinking differently about their futures. We’d like to thank the ScottishPower Foundation for its continued support and passion. Hampden is one of our most unique learning destinations so we are delighted to kick-off the campaign here and inspire the next generation of coaches, medical staff and more.”

Donna Martin, Scottish FA Child Wellbeing and Protection Manager, said: “We are delighted that Hampden Park is a Children’s University Scotland learning destination. Today we met with lots of bright young people, who love sport and are very committed to their studies. As well as having a kick-about in the warm-up area, where the Scotland team prepare for their matches at Hampden, I’m sure the learners will have taken away lots of valuable skills and insight into what we do behind the scenes.”

Hampden is just one of Children’s University Scotland’s network of 744 learning destinations, spanning the length and breadth of the country. So far 5,443 children have benefited from the initiative. The programme has been funded by the ScottishPower Foundation since its inception in 2012.

For further information please contact Jen Ward or Laura Blyth at Stripe Communications on 0131 561 8768 or email

Notes to editors

About the ScottishPower Foundation
The ScottishPower Foundation is a registered Scottish charity (SC043862) and a company limited by guarantee (SC445116). The Foundation’s aim is to make a significant and lasting contribution to society and enhance the quality of life in local communities. It provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the following purposes: the advancement of education; the advancement of environmental protection; the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science; the prevention or relief of poverty and the relief of those in need by reason of disability or other disadvantage; the advancement of citizenship and community development.

About Children’s University Scotland
CU Trust Scotland was registered as a charity in April 2013, set up to oversee the strategic development of Children's University in Scotland.

Children's University Scotland aims to attract children from all backgrounds aged 7 to 14 to use Passports To Learning to engage in voluntary, out of school hours learning activities which will enable them to graduate at a grown-up university with caps and gowns.  It targets those children who need it most.

Children's University Scotland was the first project to be awarded funding by the ScottishPower Foundation, established to reinforce the energy company's commitment to charitable work throughout Britain. The Foundation was launched by Glasgow schoolchildren from member schools of Glasgow Children's University at an event held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in June 2013.

About the Scottish FA
The Scottish FA exists to promote, foster and develop the game at all levels in Scotland.

The Association is committed, with the support of its partners and sponsors, to promote the game at grassroots level by providing players, coaches and volunteers with access to football regardless of ability, sex, race or gender.

Involvement in the Children's University Scotland programme is part of the Scottish FA's overall objectives to grow the game, by providing opportunities to make the national sport accessible to all.