School Of Hard Knocks Comes To Porth

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 and Services for Young People.

For an eight week period the programme, is being introduced for the third time in Porth where it uses the game of Rugby Union to teach participants important values that will enable them to take positive and definite steps towards employment.

The pioneering scheme, supported by Sky Sports, works with young men aged between 15 and 19 with the aim to re-engage them in education, training or employment.

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.

Welsh and British Lions rugby star Scott Quinnell, said:“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.”

The project returns to Porth from February 9th. Travelling expenses will be reimbursed, food is provided and Building the Future Together will provide new rugby boots and kit for participants. Following completion of the programme participants will have a robust support plan in place for them to achieve their training and employment aims.

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 young people’s lives.”

Building the Future Together is a  £14million project, part financed by 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.

Working in partnership with the Council’s Services for Young People, Youth Offending Service, Careers Wales, Job Centre Plus 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.

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 or 01443 744304.