UCFB offers a number of unique scholarship opportunities to students of all abilities across a number of disciplines, with scholarships available based on academic and sporting achievements, as well as social mobility among other categories.

Sean Jackson, a BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management student at UCFB Etihad Campus, was awarded the Elite Athlete Scholarship for his playing career, where he represents Manchester City and England amputee teams. Here, he tells us about how the award has helped him, and shares his highlights from his time at UCFB so far.

How has the scholarship programme helped you so far in your degree programme? 

Unfortunately, due to COVID I don’t think I’ve been able to fully experience the full scholarship experience so far, however it has been great to be a part of the small community of scholarship recipients. Originally, the scholarship programme was used to assist me travelling to one of the global hubs. The scholarship has also assisted me financially – the assistance with tuition fees helps as I am able to use my time studying and training/playing football without the financial worries and commitment to a part-time job. 

What made you decide to want to come to UCFB and apply for the scholarship?

My main reason for coming to UCFB was to experience the practical and professional elements of football coaching. The access to both academic and practical tutors who have experience of coaching in the professional game made me want to come and learn from their experience. The facilities were also a factor, with having access to the likes of the Etihad and Belle Vue. I applied for the scholarship to assist with my studies and to also be an ambassador of UCFB. 

Sean Jackson, a BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management student at UCFB Etihad Campus, was awarded the Elite Athlete Scholarship.

How has your time at UCFB been so far? 

It’s obviously been very difficult with COVID having taken up two semesters now, but I think the response to teaching going online has been really good. Adapting the modules and teaching has helped with my studies. Prior to COVID I really enjoyed the lectures, particularly topics I hadn’t experienced before. The practical sessions massively help link the academics to the practical side of coaching. 

What aspects of UCFB have you enjoyed the most?

The practical elements of the course have been really enjoyable, both in the lectures and practical assessments. Also, the help from the enrichment team to get me on to the FA Level 2 coaching course. 

Before lockdown, how did you balance your studies and representing England? And what are the plans for playing once things return to normal again?

The main way I balanced my commitments was to plan and organise; timetables helped to balance time spent on each commitment. The best way was to try and ensure I spent an equal amount of time on each to make sure I didn’t fall behind in either, but also having coaches that understood the commitments of UCFB helped as they supported me. 

The plan for when I continue playing again is to retain my place in the England senior team. We have the European Championships in September 2021 in Krakow, so we are still preparing towards that. With Manchester City Amputees we are still awaiting confirmation of a return to league fixtures and also potentially having European fixtures.

Sean represents Manchester City and England amputee teams.

How did the opportunity to represent the England Amputee team come about and what is it you love about it?

I was selected for the England junior teams when playing for Manchester City as a 16-year-old (when I first started amputee football). Since being selected in the juniors I gradually worked my way up through the Talent ID programme, under-23s and development squad before being selected for the senior squad in 2019. I’ve also loved playing football, mainly because it gave me the opportunity to do normal things everyone did despite my disability.

When I discovered amputee football I just wanted to go as high as I could. I was playing with England players at Manchester City so could see the level I needed to be at to get there. Now I just love the fact I play for England and Manchester City and the togetherness we have around the teams. 

What's the highlight of your sporting career so far?

The highlight has to be making my international senior debut against France in an away international friendly fixture – we beat them 5-0!

Do you have any advice for students looking to come to UCFB, in particular those thinking of applying for a scholarship?

My main advice would be to take advantage of all the opportunities given to you, especially the chance to listen to real world professionals. Also, try to engage in other areas to broaden your experiences or develop areas related to your course. In terms of the scholarships, have a plan around your studies, social life and sport/training – be prepared to make sacrifices.