Hull FC college scheme can produce next generation of rugby league stars, says Shaun McRae
DIRECTOR of rugby Shaun McRae believes Hull FC's new scholarship scheme is ground-breaking and the right way forward for the club.
The Black and Whites have set up the nationally recognised Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) scheme.
The course, which is run in partnership with Bishop Burton College, has been described by McRae as an initiative which can help Hull form a core nucleus of home-grown local players in the future.
"The AASE programme is the first steps of us trying to get that core of home-grown players in our first team," he told the Mail.
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"It is ground breaking for Hull. We are providing opportunities for players to become professional rugby players, but also for those that don't make it, we are providing the qualifications and skills to get a job.
"If people want to be a joiner they do an apprenticeship in joinery, we want our future players to do an apprenticeship in rugby league.
"It's not compulsory and we don't force the young guys to do it, but we are encouraging them to join our AASE programme. It is the best way to be fast-tracked into the first-team environment."
The course, for players aged 16-19, sees students study vocational courses often tailored to sport in the morning, before giving them time in the afternoon of each day to train as professional rugby players.
Hull currently have five of their new-look under-19s squad studying on the AASE programme, having started in September, with the aim of having the majority of their under-19s squad on the course in the future.
Training each day with under-19s head coach Andy Last and under-16s head coach Danny Wilson, the players are put through the same training as their first-team counterparts, with an emphasis on the technical side of the game, as well as nutrition.
"The players on our AASE programme are effectively full-time rugby league players," added McRae.
"It is all designed to fast- track our talent. There is a greater need to develop your own players and it would be great to have a high percentage of players in our first team that are local guys who came through our system.
"The players are given time to train every day at the college, either in the gym or on the field doing skill sessions. Danny and Andy are there on a full-time basis working with the players and they go through the same process as the full-time players.
"When they graduate, hopefully, we'll be able to promote some to the first-team squad and for those that don't continue in rugby, we'll have prepared them to go out and get good jobs."