In our latest Academy column, we hear from head of education and welfare officer Phil Roscoe about a special trip to Loughborough University and a prestigious tournament in Germany at the end of May.

On Wednesday we took the U18s squad to Loughborough University to give them an experience of what life is like away from playing for Liverpool’s Academy. We have actually been trying to visit there for a good few years now but unfortunately it didn’t work out fixture-wise for us. What we wanted was to give the boys a sample of life at one of the best universities in the country and have the chance to play against their football team in the evening. We were given a special guided tour where the lads were shown what university can offer them. We met a couple of boys who used to play in academy football but it didn’t quite work out for them and they shared their experience of coming to university to further their education. They gave us a great presentation and we were very grateful to them.

We always say once a player comes to the Academy they are always a Liverpool player in our eyes. 'Plan A' for our players is to play for Liverpool's first team. 'Plan B' is if life at Liverpool doesn't work out then we have to prepare them for the best possible opportunity to succeed at another club. If that doesn't work out, it's helping them find a job, or maybe go to a university in America to continue with their football life. We also help them to try to get a university degree in England, so the recent visits we have made to Warwick and now Loughborough were to give them an idea what that would be like. We also wanted them to experience some subjects during this trip away from sport.

It is fantastic that our academy director Alex Inglethorpe and U18s boss Neil Critchley, who were both with us in Loughborough, are so open to the idea of bringing the boys away from their comfort zone and giving them an important lesson in life and further education. I would like to say a special thank you to everybody at Loughborough University for making us feel so welcome and looking after us. It was a privilege for us to make the trip and hopefully in the future we can go there again.

The season for the U18s and U23s might be coming to a close, but the work doesn’t stop in Kirkby and we have a few tournaments lined up for the boys. We are making the trip to Germany with the U19s squad for the Volksbank Cup on May 24. We have been to Stemwede before and this is the second year we are going to compete in the tournament. We are going back as defending champions.

What is also very special about this trip for me is we got given the opportunity to take a disability team over with us as well. So, not only are we taking our U19 group, we are taking the disability team for a tournament. They will also train and have lunch with us, so it will be fantastic to have them with us and around the Academy players. It will be a great occasion when we can both watch each other play and the boys can cheer each other on. It is unique and we’ve never done this before, but it shows the massive equality and diversity focus we have at the Academy and as a football club alone. Martin Talbot at the LFC Foundation has been very supportive of this project. It is a great example of how various strands within the club can work together so well.