Sheffield school pupils learned lessons with a difference after Sheffield United players and coaches attended classes to raise awareness of job opportunities in sport - and encourage respect for others in the wider community.

"Take opportunities and work hard if you are going to be successful" was the lesson taught by Seamus Conneely when the Blades defender dropped in on a careers workshop with Year 10 pupils at Firth Park School.

The visit was arranged by Sheffield United's community division The United Initiative which is leading the club's involvement in npower's What's Your Goal? project - a national programme that uses students' love of football to help them develop employability skills and experience.

The What's Your Goal? scheme provides valuable information about opportunities within the football industry as well as a range of work experience placements.

Head of Community Sue Beeley and United Initiative colleague Dan Bennett delivered the workshop to more than 200 pupils at the secondary school, supported by three members of the club's Coach Academy from Sheffield Hallam University.

Rob Simcock, Firth Park Director of Learning, Vocational Education, said: "The sessions were friendly yet professional and actively encouraged the students to engage and contribute both individually and as part of a group, while Sue led from the front with passion and experience.

"From a careers and work-related point of view, the sessions provided our students with plenty of information and things to think about and research further in terms of the huge number of opportunities there are within an organisation."

"Using the example of Sheffield United also made the sessions very exciting for the students and opened their eyes to the diversity of jobs available within the sport industry."

The United Initiative is also involved in npower's Respect interactive workshops for primary schools and one of the first to receive a visit from coaches and players was St Thomas More at Grenoside.

Coaches Reece Littlejohn and Chris Murphy delivered the workshop using the love of football to encourage good behaviour and help Year 6 pupils to consider what 'respect' means in sport as well as in their everyday lives.

United players Richard Cresswell and Nick Montgomery joined in the session to discuss the importance of valuing others' feelings and opinions by exploring how behaviour affects others at school, in the home and within the community.

Both players said good behaviour was important on and off the pitch, especially in supporting match day officials. They explained that players are disciplined for poor behaviour by the football authorities and their clubs and emphasised the importance of respect for team-mates, managers and the club at large.

St Thomas More Deputy Headteacher Natalie Clarke said: "Learning about respect was a great privilege and meeting the football players was an amazing inspiration. We learned that without respect there wouldn't be football or other sports."

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