Academy intern, Jamie Loades admits that while he’s sad to be leaving the Proact, he will do so with many fond memories.
Loades has spent the last year working with the club’s academy as part of his university work placement, an experience he has more than enjoyed.
He said: “Overall it’s been a really positive experience, when I first came in I had to adapt to the professional footballing environment but it has always been my goal to work in football.
“To work at a club like this and the environment it has, has been superb.”
During his time with the Spireites, Loades has learned the ins and outs of working with an academy, and his role has been varied, with each day brining a new and somewhat different challenge.
“To start with I did general stuff like helping out and sorting out the kit,” he explained. “However throughout the year I have got more and more involved with the youth team assisting Dylan Kerr and Mark Smith with training sessions and helping out on match day.
“In the evening’s I’ve been helping out with U8-16 training and during the day helping out with the youth team and making sure they are supported with their sessions.
“The thing I have learnt the most whilst working here is the reality of football, I learnt so much about the game and how to play it. Also you have to make sure you are on the ball and prepared for work every morning.”
So how did he get involved in North Derbyshire?
Loades said: “I am studying Sport, Coaching and Development at the University of Bath. I started coaching when I was 14 at grass roots level and then when I went to Bath City and worked in their development centres. I also went over to the USA for a few months and even took a team at university.
“As part of my course I emailed all 92 English clubs to see what they would offer me placement-wise, Mark [Smith] emailed me back straight away and as soon as I had the interview I knew this would be the best opportunity for me to develop under Mark and Dylan.”
Loades has been part of a successful 2016/17 season for the academy, a campaign that has seen youth team scholars make their first team debuts and five scholars sign professional contracts.
And having seen the work done by coaches at all levels, he’s well placed to comment on the club’s future.
“Personally, I think the academy is massively underrated - not inside the club because everyone knows how good they are - but in terms of outside the club because when you think of Chesterfield you don’t automatically think of the academy,” he asserted.
“It is really encouraging that five players from the academy have signed professional contracts with the club this season, so hopefully we will see more talent coming through the ranks in the future.”
Loades’ attention now switches to the final year of his studies, but he’s not ruling out a return to the Proact and to once again work alongside the many friends that he’s made here.
He added: “It is a superb working environment at the academy you really can’t knock it, we all get on really well and have a laugh but there’s a lot of hard work that goes on and everyone contributes.
“Hopefully I will be back at the Proact, it has been a top quality year and I’ve loved every minute of it.”