The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) is run by Prince Henry's Grammar School in partnership with Leeds Carnegie and the RFU. The scheme is designed to meet the needs of young players, aged between 16 and 18 who have the potential to achieve excellence in rugby while pursuing an education at the same time.
The AASE framework has been developed by SkillsActive, in partnership with a number of sports governing bodies, industry experts and other partnership organisations.
The scheme has been running in 12 England Rugby Academies since 2006, with each Academy working with a local education provider, who delivers the Technical Certificate and Key Skills, whilst the Academy staff deliver the rugby element of the course.
The course is run over two years, with the AASE framework providing a structured national training and development route. The framework contains a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) which is fully reflective of the broad range of competences required to be successful in the AASE, such as the technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of rugby. It also addresses wider issues of being a professional player such as lifestyle, communication, wider career management, and health and safety.
The AASE programme is designed to give Rugby Apprentices the best chance of developing and maintaining a career as a professional rugby player. The 'Manage your own Career' Unit (ES6 of the NVQ) covers the skills and processes needed to plan and manage a career in rugby, it also helps players to identify and plan an alternative career path.
Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley, is the only school in Yorkshire with a license to do deliver the AASE scheme and only 12 players per school year are selected to take part in this programme at Prince Henry's.
As well as working towards their AASE pupils are also able to study for additional qualifications and many pupils have also completed 3 A levels or a BTEC at the same time, whilst each player's timetable has training scheduled into their school week, meaning they are in regular contact with the Academy staff at Leeds Carnegie, which helps them to accelerate their development.