Chris Mitchell Scholarship Programme
PFA Scotland, The Chris Mitchell Foundation and the PFA are delighted to announce details of the Chris Mitchell Scholarship Programme.
The purpose of the Scholarship Programme, funded jointly by the three organisations, is to look after the players Wellbeing and Mental Health by providing courses to help them prepare for the transition from football to the workplace.
The courses provided by the Scholarship Programme are designed to ease any stress and anxiety by upskilling players through education and training.
The first part of the CMSP is a fully accredited IT Skills Course to give players the ability to competently use a computer and the Microsoft Office Suite – skills they will need for future employment be it in coaching, an office environment or setting up their own business.
Michelle Evans, who looks after PFA Scotland’s Wellbeing Programme, said: “As the player’s union, we are committed to supporting our members in any way we can, both and on and off the pitch, throughout their football career as well as preparing them for their next steps beyond it.
“It is no secret that a good number of players struggle when they come to the end of their careers and their mental health and wellbeing can suffer so a wide range of support at this stage is vital.
“As an extension to our Wellbeing Programme, we now have former player Michael Hart in place as Personal Development Officer. His focus is on helping and supporting players with their Career Exit Strategies to ease the pressure.
“The Chris Mitchell Scholarship Programme will be play a key role going forward and we are delighted to work with the Foundation and its Trustees on this project and also be able to honour Chris’s memory.”
Trustees of the Chris Mitchell Foundation and PFA Scotland will meet regularly to discuss how the Scholarship Programme will grow and develop each year as per the needs of the players.
Chris’s sister Laura Mitchell, one of the Trustees, said: “Chris Mitchell had a great career in professional football however, the change in his circumstances from playing full-time to part-time football and having to embark on a new career, led Chris to develop mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety.
“Supporting life after football is a key objective of the Chris Mitchell Foundation, which exists to raise awareness around mental health and wellbeing for players, ex-players and staff working in the Scottish professional football industry.
“We are delighted to be working with PFA Scotland and the PFA to support more individuals move to positive destinations following the end of their football careers and ensure they feel support throughout this process.”
Players on the first course of the Programme include PFA Scotland Chairman John Rankin, St Johnstone duo Liam Craig and Joe Shaughnessy, Falkirk’s Mark Kerr and Ayr United’s Chris Higgins, who was a close friend of Chris Mitchell.
JOHN RANKIN (PFA Chairman)
“I'm doing the Course to learn how to do PowerPoint presentations in the event that I need to apply for a job soon.
“I've learned how to be in a classroom environment again and I've also learned some invaluable things on Microsoft Excel which I know will help me when I'm using spreadsheets.
“I've enjoyed everything about the course apart from the initial two weeks at the start which were a struggle. Trying to adapt and concede that you actually need to ask the tutor for help, which in all honesty after I got used to asking I haven't stopped!
“I'd recommend it to fellow players of all ages as football doesn't last forever and you need to plan as early as you can for life after you hang up your boots.”
JOE SHAUGHNESSY (St Johnstone)
“I decided to do the IT course as I don’t have a lot of experience with using Microsoft Office and thought it would be a good thing to have for the future, no matter what job I decide to go into after football.
“I’ve learned how to use Microsoft word, excel and PowerPoint. I’ve learnt how to set up a spreadsheet in excel and also how to set up a presentation in PowerPoint which will come in handy.
“The course has been really good. I’ve enjoyed the set up, as it’s very laid back with no pressure and with only 9 of us on the course we’ve been able to get all the help we needed from the tutor.
“I’d thoroughly recommend this course for anyone that feels the need to learn the basics of Microsoft Office. It’s a really easy going atmosphere and well worth the time. I think everyone on the course seems to have learnt something from it.”
CHRIS HIGGINS (Ayr United)
“The IT Skills Course will help me whether I continue in coaching or even if I end doing a job that may require use of Microsoft Office on a day to day basis. It has also helped me create and use PowerPoint which may come in handy for job interviews in the future.”
The Chris Mitchell Scholarship Programme will always be based at Falkirk Stadium, one of Chris’s former clubs.