Purpose ? This paper will examine the two year modern apprenticeship undertaken by trainees in the English professional football industry. Design/methodology/approach ? Representatives of seven clubs were interviewed in the summer of 2005; all of them were responsible
for youth development in their club. These interviews were the first of what will be three rounds of a longitudinal study, tracking the progress of some 126 apprentices. Findings ? The results of this empirical investigation fall under four headings; the rationale for youth development;
the scale of the youth development operation; an analysis of the off-the-job training provided and the use of internal labour markets in football. Practical implications ? This paper argues that trainees will typically leave the industry having finished their apprenticeship, with heavily
constrained options in the general labour market because the off-the-job training that is given to them is not, for the most part, appropriate Originality/value ? Although a number of articles have been published concerning the physiology of training young sportsmen and women, very
little has been done by way of examining the resource allocations associated with the training given to young apprentices in one of the UK's key sporting industries.