As our RugbyWorks students gear up for GCSEs and life beyond, one former student who knows all about this transition has been on hand to support. This week, Tom introduces a guest author, Gui, who kept a diary of his week's work experience with Dallaglio RugbyWorks. 

As the school year enters the final furlong, our attention now turns to the onward journey of our year 11 students into education, employment or training. This hit home this week as we assisted our cohort in Wandsworth with their GCSE PE exam. It may be  years behind me now, but I still felt the feint flutter of old butterflies on their behalf. A lot hinges on the next month or so, and we are set to deal with the added stress levels that accompany exam season.

Though our young people will make their own way from this summer, it isn’t the end of our relationship with them. A significant development in the design of RugbyWorks this year has been the introduction of our third mentoring year. The transition from the regularity of school life into the wider world at 16 is intimidating at the best of times, let alone for our young people. Checking in from time to time with a familiar face over coffee or even the phone can be a welcome waypoint on an uncertain horizon. We will maintain contact throughout the next school year with those we have coached, to support and encourage them as they make their next steps.

A lot hinges on the next month or so, and we are set to deal with the added stress levels that accompany exam season.

It is perhaps the greatest seal of approval that many choose to keep close ties with Dallaglio RugbyWorks as they progress into year 12 and beyond. One such student, Guilherme Scodeler, was part of the first cohort to complete two full years of RugbyWorks at Francis Barber, Tooting. He is currently in his mentoring year and, as part of his college course, completed his work experience with us recently. It’s my pleasure to introduce him as a guest author this week!

As part of my college course, I am required to undertake work experience for a week. This year, I was fortunate enough to be working with Dallaglio RugbyWorks. They are a charity that helps young people in Alternative Provision develop key skills to help them during their final school year and find education, employment or training once they leave secondary school. I was lucky enough to be a part of the programme and can truly say it helped me so much.

Monday

My first day of work experience was fantastic! The day did start pretty early for me, however I will get used to it over time. My first session was at The Young People's Academy with coaches Phil and Dan and it was a really good session because all the students were friendly and engaged well with the session the coaches had planned. We started off with a kicking game and then progressed into touch rugby, with slight rule changes as the session progressed. After the session was done, Phil, Dan and I went to work on the coaches’ diary, which is a review of the session and where they record how the students behaved during the session. Following that, Dan and I came back to office and Will had left me a few tasks to do on his laptop, which was a very good insight into what he does in the office.

My first day of work experience was fantastic! The day did start pretty early for me, however I will get used to it over time.

Tuesday


On the second day I had a little bit of a later start and when I got to the office the coaches were having their weekly meeting with Paula, discussing a presentation that would occur later on in the week, making sure that the numbers and statistics were correct. The meeting lasted around 30 minutes and immediately after we went to finish off a few tasks that had to be done before heading to Old Street to make our way to a session at Pavillion. The journey was the longest bit because we travelled to the end of the Nothern Line which took roughly an hour, but I barely noticed it as I was asking the coaches Dan and Will about the school and which activities they would usually set out for the students. Much like the first session, the students were very respectful and that helped it run smoothly. Again we went to a café to complete the coaches’ diary, which I helped them do by giving my opinion based on what I saw. Later on in the afternoon, there was a Q&A event with Lawrence Dallaglio held back at the office in Shoreditch. The people that also have offices there had the opportunity to ask him questions about his career and about the RugbyWorks programme.

Wednesday

The next day I had quite an early start again, I was going to meet up with Will and Dan to head up for a session at Bexley, which was a really long but pleasant journey. Once we got to the school, we made our way into their PE hall, which seemed like a really good one. The session itself was very good because all of the students were fully engaged in what the coaches had set up for them. They were all keen on playing rugby, while at some other schools it could be very hard to get that level of engagement to play. When the session was over, we once again had to do the coaches’ diary, which I helped quite a bit with this time. After that was done, we had very little time to get back to the office as there was an important event going on later. The event was at the House of Commons and it was to launch the new name for the charity, Dallaglio RugbyWorks. There were very important people there, such as MP's but also other companies that were looking to know more about the RugbyWorks programme.

Once we got to The Limes College, we started to set up and the students just flooded in! In total, there were 18 people at the session!

Thursday

On Thursday it was a bit of a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, but I managed to make my way to Sutton where Matt and Luke were waiting for me to make our way to one of the last sessions of the week. Once we got to The Limes College, we started to set up and the students just flooded in! In total, there were 18 people at the session! That was the most people I had seen at any of the sessions this week, but also during the time I was part of the programme. Like all the previous sessions, this one ran really smoothly, with again everyone participating with great enthusiasm. Once the session ended, the school thankfully provided us with lunch and we completed the coaches’ diary while we ate. The coaches told me I was done for the day due to having two very long days previously.

Friday

My last day of work experience was probably the best one because I went back to my old school, Francis Barber in Tooting. It wasn't a rugby session however, as exams are approaching they had to have a practice run for their PE exam. Phil, Tom and I helped out the teachers with this.

I would no doubt advise everyone who is currently part of the RugbyWorks programme to take every and any opportunity that it gives them, because it will pay off in the long run.

Overall, the week was a fantastic opportunity for me to witness what goes on to ensure that the students who are a part of the RugbyWorks programme are able to experience opportunities that they wouldn't really get if they were in mainstream school. Going back to my old school and to different schools that was a real eye opener because it just shows how they are all different but similar at the same time in many ways. I would say that was highly beneficial as it gave me a different view of all the other schools. As I was part of the programme a few years back, I can definitely say that it helped me a lot because I was able to improve certain aspects that mainstream school couldn't really help me with because there weren't enough opportunities, one of which was public speaking. I would no doubt advise everyone who is currently part of the RugbyWorks programme to take every and any opportunity that it gives them, because it will pay off in the long run.

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