A ground-breaking education partnership between Castleford Tigers and Airedale Academy has hit the town, with the launch of the Tigers College of Rugby League.

The new enterprise has been established to allow 16-18 year-old learners to combine a range of study options with training and playing as part of the Tigers Category 3 Development Academy.

Sixth form students at Airedale Academy studying BTEC Level 3 courses in Business, Health & Social Care or Performing Arts will be able to access the Tigers Category 3 development programme alongside those enrolled in the Tigers-led Level 3 Sports BTEC course - ultimately joining the Tigers Player development pathway.

The programme launched at Airedale Academy on Monday 10 September 2018 and sees students taking part in professional Rugby League training including a strength and conditioning programme, with sessions taking place at both Airedale Academy and at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.

Tim Rumford at the Tigers College of Rugby League said: “The launch of the Tigers Category 3 academy programme will not only add another facet to the club’s development pathway, it will also provide a route for community players who have ambitions to progress. These players will be able to concentrate on their studies – whether sports-related or not - whilst joining a specific Rugby League programme which allows them to develop with guidance from our professional coaches and athletic performance staff.”

“The Tigers College of Rugby League in partnership with Airedale Academy allows students to access not only the Tigers-led BTEC Level 3 sports course, but also a variety of options which are already available within the school’s vibrant sixth form. We look forward to working with all students and the school to make this programme a huge success”

Liz Fairhurst, Principal of Airedale Academy said: “We’re thrilled to be embarking on this partnership with Castleford Tigers. When we were approached to host the Tigers Category 3 Academy Programme we jumped at the chance to be involved. We could immediately see the benefits of being part of this for young people across the school and are excited about what it could become.”

“Not only are we pleased to be welcoming the Tigers’ students as part of our school community, but we’re delighted that pupils on our own BTEC courses will have the opportunity to get involved in the Rugby League development programme. Rugby League is such a huge part of this town’s heritage, our school is full of Tigers fans, and Airedale Academy can count a number of professional players among our ex-students – so being part of this superb new initiative has gone down really well in our school!”