Alumni – Elliot Welsh


After leaving Darwen Vale in June 2015 I enrolled at Accrington & Rossendale College to do a 2 year BTEC Sport Course and A Level PE.  I couldn’t wait to start it was everything I had always wanted to do, as the BTEC course enabled me to gain the qualifications I would need to go to university to study to be a PE teacher as well as playing in the football academy in conjunction with my studies.

It was clear to me after a few months that things were not working out as I had expected, I hated the whole concept of college life and even though I was playing plenty of football in the academy this did not take away the negative feelings I had towards the course.   Even though I was working really hard at college I felt as though it wasn’t good enough and I could not see any positive way forward.  Everything I had dreamed and worked for seemed like it was slipping away. I started to feel unhappy and depressed that I had another year of this.

After discussions with my parents about the situation we decided to look at other options. The Lancashire Football Association where advertising for Sports Apprenticeships.  This was a 2 year course and you would go into school for 4 days a week and go to the LFA training college 1 day a week to do your studies.  This seemed like the ideal opportunity for me and I set about filling in application forms to send off to the Primary Schools listed on the LFA website. After attending an interview at St Charles Primary School in Rishton I was offered the position there and then.  I jumped at the chance and was sure this was the right decision for me.  I finished my first year at Accrington College and started my new apprenticeship at St Charles on 1st August 2016.  I have not looked back and am enjoying working with the staff and pupils at the school, along with gaining my qualifications at the LFA training college. As well as getting paid for doing something I love, I am also gaining hands on experience, which will hopefully put me in good stead in the future.

During my time at Darwen Vale I got involved in all aspects of school life.  I was a Prefect, Sports Ambassador, helped out during the school holidays with the Summer School and volunteered on Open Evenings. When I was applying for my apprenticeship everything I had got involved in went on my application form.  All the times I had helped out at school during my own time was what made me stand out from the other applicants and was one of the reasons I was offered the position.

My message to you is don’t give up if what you are doing is not working out, there is always another path you can go down to get to where you want to be. During your time at Darwen Vale get involved in school life, make a difference, it can be in any department in school, it doesn’t have to be Sport, it could be anything, take that step to give something back to your school, you may be surprised how much you actually enjoy it, and how proud you feel just to be a part of it all.

Follow your dream, work hard and you will succeed.

If you are a Darwen Vale Alumni and would like to share your story and contribute to this exciting reminiscent page contact