The ‘School of Hard Knocks’ (SOHK) is a programme that uses the game of Rugby Union to teach participants important values and lessons that will enable them to take positive and definite steps towards employment. It also powerfully addresses issues of health, crime and citizenship. The Building the Future Together Project is pleased to be able to offer young people in Rhondda Cynon Taff the opportunity to take part in this innovative programme.
Who is it for?
Participants must be aged from 16-19, be living in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and be up for a challenge. The programme has worked with people who are on ASBOs, people straight out of prison and of course many who are simply at a loose end. The main aim of SOHK is to develop the soft skills of participants to give them the tools needed to go on to engage with education, training and employment. We work really hard to build confidence and instill aspirations that are realistic.
1. Employment & social elements: The primary aim of the School of Hard Knocks is to help unemployed people take significant steps towards employment that is both sustainable and realistic. It also aims to help participants:
grow in confidence
realise the value of team work and diversity
learn the value of respect: both of others and of self
access ways of maintaining discipline and control when under pressure
realise their own potential
Find realistic and sustainable employment
2. Rugby & health elements: Another key aim of SOHK is to introduce participants to the game of rugby: this is a great aim for its own sake, but also has the additional value of promoting a means of embracing and maintaining a healthy and socially positive lifestyle. Therefore, in addition to the coaching and employment elements, the programme will address the following issues:
Healthy eating & nutrition
Sexual health / men’s health
Life & Employment Training
Willing to work: This is a high impact and motivational two part module, that helps clients see the benefits of work over and above the perceived benefits of unemployment. It introduces the concept of career building and encourages participants to take on a frame of mind that see barriers as (mostly) ‘overcome-able’.
Understanding Fear: A session that will help participants in all sorts of areas of their lives (not least the rugby) but certainly as well, their anxieties over job seeking and actual employment.
Dealing with aggression: This is an interactive continuation of the understanding fear module. It gives very practical advice on how to control one’s own anger and deal positively with aggression from other people. This is applied particularly but not exclusively to the workplace.
Enterprise: A highly motivational and fun session encourages an entrepreneurial spirit!
Discussing Diversity: A highly interactive session that raises the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace. This is delivered in such a way that participants are encouraged to empathise and view things form a different perspective – perhaps even challenging presuppositions that result in negative behaviour.
Employer visit: We will invite local employers or HR managers to provide mock interviews and talk about the qualities they are looking for in their employees.
CV & Covering letters: These sessions will result in every participant in possession of an up to date CV – including the option of a
Interview coaching: The techniques required to impress as well as the main do’s and don’ts for interviews. This is mostly a group session but as and when participants are invited for interview during the course, they will have 1-1practice and feedback with the facilitator.
Job search: This is a major part of the programme and as such will be a regular feature. This will be more than a mere guided search as we will set daily targets for amount of jobs applied for. There will be a mixture of applications to current advertised jobs, plus internet and speculative applications.
1. Rugby video analysis: A short session where actual rugby footage is shown and discussed in order to introduce the laws, shape and tactical element of the game.
2. Coaching sessions: New core skills are introduced every session however it is anticipated that each subsequent session will, by necessity, build upon and include all of the elements of the previous sessions.
Most of the modules will be delivered in a rugby club in RCT. The Building the Future Together project will pay for participants’ travel expenses to attend the School of Hard Knocks sessions.
Additionally there will be several trips that will be seriously challenging but highly motivating and inspirational. This will include adventure training, assault courses with the Army and various rugby visits (i.e. watching professional games and meeting top internationals in their training environments).
There will be 2 sessions per week on consecutive days for 8 weeks. The total hours on the course per week will not exceed 16.