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From Kingston to Kingsholm thanks to HITZ!

From Kingston to Kingsholm thanks to HITZ!
Gloucester Rugby HITZ student Stephen Brandford has taken his first steps into full time employment after Gloucester Rugby rewarded his hard work, effort and positive mannerism, while on work experience as part of the Gloucester Rugby Community Charity education programme HITZ.

HITZ is an award-winning 15-week traineeship that provides unique learning, enrichment and work experience opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds if you are not currently in education, work or training. HITZ is sponsored by Land Rover Rugby, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon. The scheme also develops interview skills, social and life skills all in one programme.

HITZ uses rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to get young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/ or employment, and is delivered nationally by England’s 12 professional rugby clubs.

After meeting Stephen, we discovered that he had moved to the country from Jamaica two years previously and was unable to read or write properly. This was due to a learning difficulty, but due to his nationality, the diagnosis wasn’t recognised by the British education system.This massively limited his options and all Stephen wanted to do was gain employment, or even just keep busy doing something productive. He was incredibly quiet, but always extremely polite and with his infectious smile had a lasting impact on many of the staff at Kingsholm especially the operations team who offered Stephen some work experience.

Whilst completing his work experience hours and working on his communication and confidence skills at HITZ, he became very competent within his placement, and friendly and talkative enough to be noticed by other departments around the stadium, in particular the Bars Manager who asked for his CV (which he had worked on with HITZ through workshops and Barclays Life skills) who then offered him an interview.

By this point in the course, Stephen had come out of his shell, no longer shy and his communication barriers disappeared thanks to his interview practice. He went on one trial shift and the was offered the job. The operations team also noticed Stephen’s hard work and when a full-time role opened, invited Stephen to apply.

Following his interview Stephen was successful and started employment with the Gloucester Rugby operations team and has hit the ground running.

Operations Manager Helen Grayer stated:

“Stephen’s extremely hard working. He completes jobs so quickly and thoroughly sometimes that it’s hard to keep up and find more jobs for him to do. He can be trusted enough to use his intuition and find more work to do himself, rather than waiting for someone to tell him what to do. Over the weeks he has definitely become a lot more confident than the first time I met him.”

This is another example of how the HITZ programme has benefitted the young people of Gloucester. Stephen is a fantastic role model to all young people, that working hard with a smile can open so many opportunities for yourself no matter what your barriers are.

Stephen said:

“The HITZ programme has helped me develop my English language skills, confidence and provided me many opportunities for work experience to show people what I can do, as I struggle to explain things. Thanks to HITZ tutor Mike Hoult and HITZ officer Matt Russell, I can do a job I love doing every day.”

The HITZ programme starts again fresh in September. For more information contact HITZ officer Matt Russell at [email protected] or 07590640622.
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