School of Hard Knocks

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Using the sport of rugby to take positive steps towards future employment, is the key aim of the innovative School of Hard Knocks.

The programme, which powerfully addresses the issues of health, crime and citizenship, is used as part of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Building the Future Together project in corporation with the Youth Offending Service and Job Centre Plus.

For the next eight weeks the programme, is being introduced for a second time in Mountain Ash.

Using the game of Rugby Union to teach participants important values and lessons that will enable them to take positive and definite steps towards employment, has made the School of Hard Knocks a successful and pioneering scheme.

The programme has worked with young people who are known to the Youth Offending Service to engage in activities to prevent them from offending and re-offending. The scheme endeavours to build confidence and instill aspirations that are realistic.

Primarily, the School of Hard Knocks is aimed at helping unemployed people take significant steps towards finding work that is sustainable and realistic. It helps users grow in confidence, learn responsibility, team work, respect and discipline under pressure, many of the qualities which potential employers look for in a new recruit.

Another key aim is to introduce participants to the game of rugby as a means of embracing and maintaining a healthy and socially positive lifestyle. Therefore, in addition to the coaching and employment elements, the programme addressed healthy eating and nutrition, sexual health, men’s health, injury management and physical fitness.

The life and employment training deals with a whole range of categories, from dealing with aggression and understanding fear to discussing diversity, entrepreneurship, compiling a CV, job searching and interview coaching.

Cllr Eudine Hanagan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning said: “The School of Hard Knocks is a hugely challenging and highly motivating and inspiring project run in conjunction with our Building the Future Together project which endeavours to give young people the very best start in life.

“This element tackles those who find it difficult gaining sustainable employment and thanks to such a pioneering new method of tackling this issue, we are sure of making some major, positive changes to people’s lives.”

Working in partnership with the Council’s Services for Young People, Children’s Services, Cultural Services, Coleg Morgannwg and secondary schools, Building the Future Together aims to improve the life chances and career opportunities of many thousands of young people in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The £14million project, part financed through the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government supports 11 to 19 years olds with its key aim being to raise aspirations, boost confidence and support pathways to further learning and employment.

Scott Quinnell, British Lions & Wales, says:“It is one of the biggest achievements in my rugby career to be part of this; I have seen a group of boys turn into men.”

If you are interested in joining us for this exciting new programme or know of a young person aged between 15 and 19 who you think may benefit from getting involved please contact Leanna Thomas on 01443 744253.

For further information on the Building the Future Together project please contact BTFT@rctcbc.gov.uk or 01443 744304.

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