BURNHAM Ramblers are hoping their new academy in Southend will boost the club and its young players.

The Ryman One North club started the footballing project in January but will integrate it with an education programme from September.

Based at Warners Bridge Park in Southend, Ramblers will be holding trials on May 28 and 29.

“We are trying to educate our players to develop knowledge of all areas of the game but also to help them to gain experience they may not get anywhere else, while helping them into a worthwhile career,” said academy director Dave Thompson.

“We have fantastic facilities and everything is state of the art. We are currently scouting for players for next season and to start on the BTEC programme in September.”

Ramblers decided to base the project in Southend because of its good transport links.

Players have been attracted from across the Essex, London and Hertfordshire areas.

The project allows players to be coached for two years while also studying for a level three BTEC diploma in sport, with students having the option of university or an apprenticeship in the third year.

Thompson and Ramblers’ first team coach Leon Woodford look after the football training, with SCL providing the education part.

They are looking for 48 students for the first intake who will be split into two squads playing on the Conference Youth League and the British Colleges League.

Players will get the chance to play for Burnham’s under-18, reserve or first team at the weekends.

Last month Thompson and Woodford took a representative academy side to Malta for a five-day training camp.

The trip included two matches, with Burnham – drawing 1-1 against pro club Hamrun Spartans before losing 3-1 to the Maltese national under-17 side.

For more information on the academy, the open evening and the club’s own trials, visit www.burnhamramblersacademy.com or call Dave Thompson on 07951 665140.