2020 class completes FAI-ETB Course despite Covid challenges

2020 has seen the Covid-19 crisis cause issues within Education settings around the country, resulting in various examinations being cancelled and students unable to physically attend classes.
2nd Jul 2020

This has not prevented the progress of the FAI-ETB Education programme where local Coordinators in cooperation with Education & Training Board staff and course tutors have rallied to ensure that trainees could finish their education programme and in many cases, look to progress to Third Level Education later in the year.

The FAI-ETB Programme provides a unique blend of football training delivered alongside a full-time academic programme. The QQI Level 5 Sports & Recreation Major Award forms the centrepiece of the academic content and with 400 CAO points available from this course. It’s an alternative pathway to Third Level Education for many young people who may not have thrived in the traditional school setting but find that sports related subjects command their interest and attention. The programme caters for 250 trainees every year on the full-time 50-week programme.

Due to the dedication of FAI Course Coordinators and ETB staff to these young people, a reported 80% of the trainees countrywide have achieved a full QQI Level 5 Major Award, while others have achieved a significant number of component QQI Module Awards which is an extraordinary effort given the conditions which they had to contend with in recent months.

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A dedicated effort saw classes being delivered online by course tutors through Zoom. A major challenge for FAI staff was to keep the trainees motivated to continue engaging with the course and daily online interaction with the trainees meant that they were encouraged to keep on track with their educational objectives. The efforts of the Education & Training Boards who provided continued supports were of paramount importance and the class of 2020 can now look forward to progressing their careers. The FAI-ETB Programme has enjoyed the support of ETBs countrywide for many years now and despite this year’s unprecedented challenges, the academic results have shown the true value of this unique cooperation.

FAI-ETB Clondalkin Course Coordinator, Paul Doody, one of 21 FAI staff dedicated to the Player Development programme around the country observed; “This was a real team effort between FAI staff, course tutors and the Education & Training Board. We faced some real challenges to keep the trainees motivated because usually the football element of the course is the big attraction and that unfortunately, was suspended due to the pandemic. However, I think everybody realised the bigger picture here and that there was an educational opportunity to pursue and with some innovative thinking and persistence on all parts, I think all has worked out very well in the end.”

There are 10 FAI-ETB Courses nationwide and further information is available at

Applications for the September 2020 intake of students are now being accepted online

FAI ETB Player Development Course