A pre-employment course that uses rugby to support young people in realising their potential has delivered its most successful course to date, with support from housing and construction partners including national developer, Wates Residential with funding from Wates Giving – the charitable programme of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust.
Wates Residential is currently delivering 1,500 new homes across the city as part of its Cardiff Living partnership with Cardiff Council.
The School of Hard Knocks (SoHK) is designed to support unemployed adults furthest from the job market in developing life and employability skills. Sessions include CV writing and interview technique workshops in addition to rugby training. This combination helps students build the confidence and communication skills required to gain and maintain employment such as goal-setting, anger and fear management, team building, self-discipline, confidence and leadership.
The recently completed 10 week course in in Cardiff supported over 63 local people, with one male and one female course running in tandem. Students on both courses graduated through a full contact rugby game at Cardiff Arms Park on 13 June where they put their new-found skills and confidence to the test, before they take the next step into employment or further training.
Each candidate is supported with a tailored exit strategy to help them transition into employment, further work experience or accessing additional support. This is supported by a dedicated on-site psychologist in addition to a jobs fair with local employers before graduation.
Outcomes from previous School of Hard Knocks programmes have been staggering, with more than 70% moving into full-time work within three months of starting the course. 75% of these individuals are recorded as maintaining employment and more than 95% rate themselves as more confident, hopeful and motivated.
Catryn Grundy, Director of Programmes for SoHK commented:
“This particular programme is down to the commitment and funding of all the partners, especially the charitable programme Wates Giving, who kindly awarded a grant of £20,000 to allow us to run a female course in parallel with the male course. This enabled us to empower these young people to realise their own potential.”
Thomas Bosworth, found out about SoHk from his Job Centre Advisor. He said:
“I have been unemployed for two and half years and wanted to do something that would help me look after my health. After being on this course for just a few weeks, my communication skills have improved and I am much better at meeting people – other people have noticed too. I have really enjoyed taking part, getting out, doing something new and pushing myself. The mentors have also encouraged me to look for work. I really want to work at the dogs’ home and they have made contacts with someone there to see what they can do to help.”
Edward Rees, Business Director for Wates Residential, said:
“We are incredibly proud of everyone that has graduated from the School of Hard Knocks. Their ambition to learn new skills and try new things has been inspiring and there has been a real transformation in some of the individuals’ confidence levels throughout the programme. We already have one graduate signed up to work with a supply chain partner and have also enrolled further participants onto our two week Building Futures construction and employment skills programme.
“We were delighted to have secured a Wates Giving grant for SoHK as supporting training and education is just one of the ways that we are committed to leaving a lasting legacy within Cardiff and the surrounding communities as part of our Cardiff Living housing partnership with Cardiff Council to develop 1,500 new homes across the city.”
The project is also supported by Jehu Group, Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA), Dwr Cymru, Principality, DWP, Cyrstal Creative and homelessness charity The Wallich, along with additional housing association partners Linc Cymru, Cadwyn, Taff and Hafod.
To find out more about the School of Hard Knocks go to: www.schoolofhardknocks.org.uk