Under the banner of the Game On programme, the HITZ (Premiership Rugby) and TRY HARD (Rugby Football League) projects will be rolled out across 23 UK-based professional clubs in the Premiership and Super League respectively.
Since 2009, Wooden Spoon has invested in excess of £1 million to support over 30 community projects designed to engage with disaffected young people suffering social disadvantage. Working with the main rugby bodies in the British Isles, Spoon has engaged with over 35,000 young people in their local communities or through Young Offending Institutes, Pupil Referral Units and a myriad of other youth agencies.
YMCA Training has been working with young people throughout England since 1978, helping them to transform their lives through work related training and employment support.
It is through these joint experiences that Wooden Spoon and YMCA Training have chosen to work together to offer the young people on the programme the ability to combine both education and training courses with rugby skills to encourage positive behaviour change, build confidence and raise aspiration levels.
The first projects will go live in April 2012 in Warrington (Warrington Wolves), Bath (Bath Rugby) and Northampton (Northampton Saints). In excess of £500,000 of private investment over three years has been committed to provide 350 young people who are not in education, employment or training with the opportunity to get their lives back on track.
Bill Hill, Wooden Spoon, Chief Executive, said:
"Wooden Spoon is delighted to be working with PRL, RFL and YMCA Training on the Game On programme. A true Big Society programme, Game On will combine private sector sponsorship with substantial public funding to forge a sustainable social partnership that will help address a priority Government concern."
Anne Linsey, YMCA Training Chief Executive, added:
"This is an exciting and unique project - with so many young people who are uncertain about the opportunities available, we're really keen to inspire them to develop their unique talents and skills and transform their futures."
Through HITZ (Premiership Rugby) and TRY HARD (Rugby Football League) young people will be provided with access to bespoke educational progression opportunities that allow participants to develop in their own time and select a syllabus that is right for them and their chosen progression, this programme is about more than awarding coaching certificates.
Wooden Spoon has long enjoyed significant support from the wider business sector and through these connections the charity is working to establish relationships and provide post programme placements for the young people who complete the course. One of the organisations supporting the initiative and offering places to the young people who complete the course is the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors (FPDC).
Angela Mansell, President of the FPDC said,
"The FPDC is a national trade association that promotes excellence and best practise in our sector. Our members, from companies across the British Isles, are always looking to take on trainee staff as part of large tenders for example. Our members report a high attrition rate for apprentices so anything we can do to engage with young people who have already demonstrated an appetite for work in our sector and want to better themselves is great for us. I thank Wooden Spoon for making such a valuable opportunity available FPDC members."
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