Unemployment in the United Kingdom affects 1 out of 7 young people, half of whom are young women. That rate is three times higher than the national average for all ages combined. For these young people, unemployment often goes hand in hand with low self-confidence, lack of physical activity, mental health issues or alcohol abuse. Street League was founded in 2003 to use sports as a way to help 16- to 25-year olds find training or employment.
By combining soccer with more traditional classes to improve employability, as well as meetings with professionals, Street League was reaching a clientele that was 93% masculine. Because girls are just as affected as boys by unemployment, in 2014 the charity decided to develop a special program for them.
The idea of using soccer stadiums as places of learning is based on the British “Study Support Centre” model, which utilises young people’s enthusiasm for the sport to encourage them to take up educational offers.
Since 2010 the Robert Bosch Stiftung has been working in conjunction with the Bundesliga-Stiftung (German federal soccer league foundation) to fund centres of civic education in soccer stadiums in towns and cities such as Dortmund, Bochum, Bremen, Berlin, Bielefeld, Gelsenkirchen, Frankfurt, Dresden, Rostock, Braunschweig, and Nürnberg.
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These learning centres are aimed at school students, particularly from Hauptschulen, in grades seven to ten and young soccer fans in general. The idea is to use the atmosphere of the stadium to appeal to the types of young people on whom traditional educational services generally have little impact.