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Disengaged with teachers and caring little for school work led to Lewis Hyatt experiencing periods in isolation before eventually being expelled from school. Fast forward to 2021 and Lewis is now thriving in a full time engineering apprenticeship.

Lewis is one of six outstanding young individuals who have been named a HITZ Hero 2021 by Premiership Rugby, in recognition of their achievements despite the challenges of lockdown.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme, working with more than 2,000 14-23 year-olds across England every year. The aim of HITZ is to help young people classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training) turn their lives around through gaining qualifications and developing their personal, employability and life skills.   

After applying to join HITZ a few times but lacking confidence to take the final step, Lewis joined the HITZ programme at Gloucester Rugby in September 2020. He instantly settled in and started to flourish as the HITZ staff worked with his ADHD, rather than against it. Lots of small tasks, a wide range of activities and one-to-one support created a stimulating environment in which Lewis progressed well.

Lewis Hyatt passed his functional skills whilst on the course as well as his BTEC Sport & Active Leisure Level 1. Lewis showed maturity and bravery whilst on course as a close friend passed away during his time on HITZ. He did not let this affect his learning or attendance. He used this more as a motive to better himself. Lewis attended a jobs fair organised by Gloucester Rugby. Here he spoke specifically to an engineering company. This ignited an interest in Lewis which started a potential career pathway that he hadn’t thought of before. 

The HITZ Heroes 2021 awards are a celebration of triumph over adversity during the last 12 months. Each has their own individual story but what unites the six heroes is their determination to overcome barriers to unlock their own potential.

Mathew Liddiard from Gloucester Rugby Club and Michael Hoult from SCL Education Group nominated Lewis for a HITZ Hero award in recognition of  the progress he has made, culminating in Lewis securing a full time engineering apprenticeship in January 2021.

“Lewis has a lovely and overactive nature which was brilliant to have in the classroom, but at times could work against him. Throughout the 15 weeks, Lewis really matured as a person whilst keeping his bubbly personality.”

“Whilst in HITZ, Lewis completed a work placement to build his confidence and awareness of how to conduct himself within a working environment. We received brilliant reports on his behaviour, demonstrating how he is much more suited to a practical work environment.”

With the Government reporting unemployment for young people increasing by 11% since the start of the pandemic, and that by the end of last year there were an estimated 800,000 16-24 year olds in the UK classified as NEET, Premiership Rugby’s commitment to supporting and developing individuals like this has only become more steadfast.

Wayne Morris, Community and Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Premiership Rugby said,

“To say life can be tough for some young people is a bit of an understatement, and this has only been compounded by the pandemic. Pausing the delivery of HITZ during lockdown was not an option for us and with the help of our partner clubs like Gloucester we have continued to provide much needed support.”

“Our HITZ students have demonstrated real commitment and resilience to not let lockdown derail their aspirations. Lewis is a shining example of how determination coupled with the right support and opportunity can go a long way to changing lives for the better.“

Supported by the CVC Foundation, Wooden Spoon and SCL Education Group, nearly 16,000 young people have engaged in the HITZ programme since it was created in 2008.

Marc Boughton from The CVC Foundation added, “Congratulations Lewis! Your success story is exactly why the CVC Foundation supports HITZ. We believe it is one of the most impactful ways of helping young people to turn their lives around and set them on a good path for their futures.”

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