Eastleigh College and Southampton Football Club have struck up an unlikely partnership, coming together to provide the Certificate in Event and Match Day Stewarding (CEMS) qualification, a requisite for all football stewards nationwide.

Following a series of meetings between representatives form Eastleigh College and the football club safety officers, who gave an insight into the demands of the qualification, and to ensure that the college was able to meet these demands, the College enrolled 35 students. The unique training package for stewards, which contains eight modules, was developed by the football authorities in conjunction with the Football Safety Officers" Association and the Football Licensing Authority.

Confidence in Quality

A qualification that primarily focuses on health and safety the CEMS includes modules covering first aid, fie training, racism and disability, and conflict management. Chief Steward for SFC Steve Harris says: "CEMS builds confidence in the club for both the stewards and the supporters. Safety is paramount for everyone and CEMS makes sure everyone understands and applies what he or she has been taught. Supporters are reassured that the stewards know how to handle difficult situations, as we are the front line of the club."

Following the training and assessment, a 72 hour notional guided learning program assessed by written assessment papers and on the job experience, the first 35 students were presented with their certificates at the Southampton/Cardiff match at the St Mary's Friends Provident Saturday 1st April by Saints Managing Director Andrew Cohen. Speaking on behalf of Southampton Football Club, Michelle Garrett, Health and Safety Manager for SFC said: "The real hard work has been down to the stewards themselves, and the assessment team has done very well to support them through it with the minimum of fuss and inconvenience."

Raising Skills

Introduced in May 2005 the CEMS qualification recognises the skill level involved in the position, and has now become a requirement for all football grounds. Southampton Football club has come second only to Wembley National Stadium in being the first organisation to apply for CEMS Certificates for their stewards. Developed in partnership with the Football Association, the Football League, the FA Premier League and the Football Safety Officers" Association, and in consultation with the Football licensing Authority it has a primarily sporting role.

However, its content can be applied to any event and/or match day stewarding of any stadium based sport. 1st4Sport is an awarding body recognised and regulated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) which works in partnership with a variety of organisations to develop and award qualifications for the active learning and leisure industry.

The CEMS, accredited by the QCA sits at Level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, and is regarded by the Football Licensing Authority as being to the required nationally recognised standard. Whilst training to a nationally recognised standard is compulsory (and all clubs are using the football authorities" Stewards" Training Package), clubs can choose to put their stewards through either the CEMS or the NVQ in Spectator Control Level 2. Either of these qualifications is acceptable to the safety authorities.

Michael de la Fuente

Keep your FE skills in at FE News!

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