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Hospitality, Tourism & Sport

Sports Coaching and Development (Ballymena Utd Football Academy) - Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Start Date: 4th September 2023
Code: PFFB01027

  • Further Education
  • Full-time
  • Ballymena
  • Course Information
  • We are currently not accepting applications for this course. To register your interest contact admissions@nrc.ac.uk


Duration: 2 Years Full-time
Start date: 4th September 2023
End date: 6th June 2025

Course fee: FREE (Eligibility criteria may apply)

Course Content

Northern Regional College has partnered with Ballymena United FC to offer a new unique football academy in Ballymena for those who wish to pursue a career in football.  This two year programme is equivalent to three A-Levels and combines specialist football training and first-class education. The academy benefits from one of the best sports facilities in Northern Ireland, including the use of 3G and grass training pitches and indoor facilities. You will be trained by coaching professionals with each session designed to improve and develop your game whilst gaining a recognised qualification - Level 3 in Sports Coaching & Development.  In addition you have an opportunity to enhance your CV with optional Irish FA Foundation coaching qualifications.

You will study 7 mandatory and 5 optional units:

Mandatory Units

  • Careers in the Sport & Active Leisure Industry
  • Health, Wellbeing & Sport
  • Developing Coaching Skills
  • Applied Coaching Skills
  • Research in Project in Sport
  • Sport Development
  • Self-employment in Sport and Physical Activity

Optional Units

  • Sports Injuries
  • Fitness Testing
  • Rules, Regulations & Officiating in Sport
  • Practical Sports Application
  • Organising Events in Sport and Physical Activities

Optional Irish FA qualifications

  • Futsal Introductory Award
  • Grassroots Introductory Award
  • Football Fundamentals
  • Level 1 Coaching Award
  • Futsal Referee Award
  • Futsal Level 1
  • Full Referee Award
  • Football for All Workshop
  • OCN Level 2 in Football Business
  • IFA Roles Volunteers and Staff
  • Show Racism the Red Card
  • Coaching Disabled Footballers
  • There is a cost of

    £125 Irish FA Registration Fee and Kit (cost to be confirmed) 


Ballymena FC Academy

Course Aims

This course has been developed in consultation with employers and professional bodies ensuring the content is appropriate and consistent with current industry practice enabling you to enter directly to employment in sports coaching and development roles or progress to higher education.

Course Update

Please note that due to ongoing major campus construction projects courses at Ballymena, Coleraine and Ballymoney may be relocated to alternative suitable locations as required.

  • You should have at least 4 GCSEs at Grade C or above including Maths and/or English (GCSE equivalencies are acceptable). If you are accepted on to this course without a Grade C or above in Maths and/or English you will be required to complete the relevant Essential Skills qualification. This will be a compulsory part of your timetable.
  • Demonstrate a playing record in youth football.
  • Trial matches/training sessions may also form part of the selection process.
  • Players may be recommended by the Head of Academy at their NIFL club.
  • In circumstances where there are more applications for the course than there are places available, the College reserves the right to ask for higher grades.

Ballymena Utd FC First team footballer

  • Develop to become a Ballymena Utd First team player.


You may progress to higher education on full degree single or combined courses, for example:

  • BSc (Hons) Sport Studies.
  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science.
  • BSc (Hons) Health, Physical Activity & Sport.
  • BA (Hons) in Sports Development and Management.
  • BSc (Hons) in Sports Coaching.
  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Leisure Management.
  • BSc (Hons) in Exercise, Health and Fitness.
  • BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Psychology.
  • FdSc Sports Science, Coaching & Fitness.
  • Other non-sport related pathways e.g. such as BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, BSc (Hons) Psychology, BEd (Hons) Primary Education.


  • Football scholarship in America.


  • Fire Service, PSNI, Prison Service, Armed Forces, trade/apprenticeship etc. 

Lamont Building
Trostan Avenue
BT43 7BN
028 2563 6221



Essential Skills

All full-time students at Northern Regional College have the opportunity to improve their English, Maths and ICT skills and gain qualifications. The qualification you take will depend on the qualification you already have. If you do not have a grade C or above in GCSE English, Maths or ICT, you MUST complete Essential Skills; this will form a compulsory part of your timetable. If you are planning to go on to further study (for example university), please check if a GCSE qualification (rather than Essential Skills Level 2 equivalent) is required. For those who have a GCSE grade D in Maths or English, we offer a GCSE fast-track course.

Show Essential Skills courses