Dallaglio RugbyWorks is an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on rugby, through which we aim to get teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.

Over the past month, our fantastic corporate partners have welcomed RugbyWorks students into their workplaces for a number of exciting employability trips. From boardrooms to building sites, they have shown our young people a host of career possibilities and fuelled the aspirations of many.

A busy programme of trips kicked off on April 21st, as Mentzendorff hosted a group of students from the Pavilion School. Equipped with a dazzling array of James Bond memorabilia, the boardroom created an immediate buzz. The students were impressed that Managing Director and long-time RugbyWorks supporter, Andrew Hawes, had made himself available to talk them through the business and his personal story. Following this, the marketing and logistics team gave a fascinating insight into complexities of moving wine around the world. As the day came to a close, the students were joined by Mentzendorff staff for lunch, and here the success of the day was clear: “Seeing the boys all holding their own personal conversations was the highlight of the day and showed what a relaxed and positive environment Mentzenndorf had created,” recalled RugbyWorks coach Dan.

The following week, students from Newhaven School and Southwark Inclusive Learning Service visited the awesome offices of Universal Music in Kensington. The highlight of the day was meeting Alec Boateng, also known as radio personality Twin B. His was an inspiring story, having begun his career in pirate radio during the emergence of grime music in London. “He managed to relate to the group in a special way, coming from a similar background to many of our young people,” said RugbyWorks coach Phil, who works with the Newhaven students. A tour of the building followed to finish the day and students left visibly inspired by what they had seen and heard. This was clear to Ilyes, head of PE at Newhaven: “I’d like to thank all the staff at Universal for the time and effort they took and I’m confident that it has opened up the minds of our group and shown them what possibilities are out there if they really want them.”

On the 3rd of May, Pearl & Dean welcomed another RugbyWorks group at their offices in Farringdon. The day offered an introduction to the complex world of cinema advertising. Young people form The Limes College and Francis Barber Westdean were engaged from the outset, learning about the business and its role in the ever-changing landscape of film and media. “We thought it was really interesting that the percentage of money spent on creative and promotion is 20% - 80%,” said one student. “The quiz was a huge hit! We all really, really enjoyed the games and loved the interactive elements of the day.” Our young people left the experience with more than some generously donated goodies and cinema tickets. It gave Ashir from The Limes considerable food for thought; "it felt really natural to be in an office environment, I’d love to work for Pearl and Dean,” he told his coaches at their next session.

That same day, students from Pathways Short Stay School were rolling their sleeves up at the Halfords Autocentre in Dartford. As ever, the brilliant Halfords staff put students through their paces as they performed a full car service. Sam, the Teaching Assistant who accompanied the group was stunned, “I’ve never seen them this focussed,” he said. It was particularly special to have Mason, a former RugbyWorks student now on the Halfords apprenticeship scheme on hand to chat with the group. Inspired by the day and hoping to follow in his footsteps, we are delighted to report that three of the students have since decided to apply to the same Halfords apprenticeship scheme

Rounding off this superb catalogue of employability trips, our young people donned hard hats and work boots with McGee on the 11th of May. Students toured their colossal project, One Nine Elms, mesmerised by the scale of the site where a building is currently being demolished. “It was interesting to see the different trades out on the tour and how many people all work together to reach the same goal,” said one student. This realisation demonstrates the true value of these employability trips; for our RugbyWorks young people to see first-hand the crucial role teamwork, communication and discipline play in the world of work.

This busy period has brought the fundamental aim of RugbyWorks to the fore: Sustained education, employment or training for our young people when they leave Alternative Provision. These experiences are crucial to reaching this outcome. They would not be possible without the tremendous support of our corporate partners. A huge thank you must go to all their fantastic staff, who give up their time with remarkable enthusiasm and passion.

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