As another cohort of young people has entered the third mentoring year this term, RugbyWorks coach Tom describes the value of this continued relationship with the help of his mentee, Raishay.

The introduction of our third mentoring year in 2016 was a landmark moment for Dallaglio RugbyWorks. The need to support our young people as they negotiate the difficult transition from their familiar Alternative Provision (AP) surroundings into education, employment or training at 16 became clear to us when evaluating our programme design with Impetus PEF in 2016. We now work with our students on a one-to-one basis throughout year 12. The ability for us as coaches to maintain the relationships built over two years in sessions is certainly having an impact. 68% of our young people have remained in education employment and training 12 months after leaving their AP school, relative to a national average of 50%.

As with so many of our young people though, they make on us just as much impact as we are able to on them. For me personally, the process of mentoring young people we once met in the unique AP environment as they progress towards lives of their own beyond it has had a profound effect. It’s difficult not to feel a quasi-parental sense of pride as they strive for progress and display qualities we may have seen in a rugby session for real ‘on the outside’.

68% of our young people have remained in education employment and training 12 months after leaving their AP school, relative to a national average of 50%.

One such young person I have had the privilege of mentoring this year is Raishay. Many of you will remember his outstanding performance on stage at 8Rocks, a moment that even as I now write this fills me with an overwhelming sense of pride. As he mentioned that night, he is keen to pursue a career in film and television. Now, with a much stronger sense of direction from when he was in his AP school, we are able to focus our efforts on finding opportunities to promote his development in this field alongside his college course in Film and TV.

“It’s difficult not to feel a quasi-parental sense of pride as they strive for progress and display qualities we may have seen in a rugby session for real ‘on the outside’.

This past weekend, Raishay joined us at the Ricoh Arena for Wasps’ clash with Leicester Tigers. Another of his mentors and former coach, Phil, was able to arrange a fantastic day shadowing the BT Sport crew to go behind the scenes of the live broadcast. Following this, he went pitch side for an interview before kick-off. I’m delighted that you can hear, in his own words, how he has been getting on with us and how the day went for him:

Working with Dallaglio RugbyWorks has not only taught me how to play rugby, it’s also taught me many important values for life. From looking forward to every session on a Friday at my PRU, to talking in front of hundreds of people about my journey so far at 8Rocks, RugbyWorks has opened many windows of opportunity to support me and my future in filming which is my main passion. Thanks to my mentor Phil, I now have a job filming rugby matches for schools. This helps me gain experience and meet new people, and I have already noticed the progress of my filming which helps greatly with any future opportunities.

On Saturday 2nd December I was taken to my first ever professional rugby match at the Ricoh Arena with the RugbyWorks team. This gave me a chance to connect and get to know the rest of the team, who are each such role models in their own way. Before the game started, I was interviewed pitch side in front of thousands of people talking about my journey with RugbyWorks. When I heard my voice on the speakers throughout the stadium, it was a life-changing experience. I would have never thought I would do anything like that a year ago, but many dreams have become reality since I have been mentored by Tom.

It was a huge thrill to be in the same room as rugby legends and the BT Media crew. I left the broadcasting truck with knowledge that I hope will benefit me as I continue to learn and develop my filming abilities.

I was also able to raise money at the stadium and that was a great way to help raise awareness of RugbyWorks and the most inspiring team I’ve met. Since my time with Dallaglio RugbyWorks began, I have managed to get a job, get into college with the right grades and improve myself as a person.
Therefore, I didn’t see the Wasps game as just an experience but also a chance to project my voice and potential to an audience.

On the day, Phil also introduced me to his friend who works for BT Sport and I had the chance to see what happens behind the scenes of a live television broadcast. I saw how the graphics, camera shots and audio are all brought together and the whole crew was welcoming and happy to educate me about the technology. It was a huge thrill to be in the same room as rugby legends and the BT Media crew. I left the broadcasting truck with knowledge that I hope will benefit me as I continue to learn and develop my filming abilities.

Finally, I’d like to thank him personally. By continuously striving to better himself, to explore beyond his comfort zone, taking whatever life throws at him all the while, Raishay is a fine example for me to follow.

Spending a whole day at the Ricoh Arena with the Dallaglio RugbyWorks team has showed me how to socialise and interact better with people. As well as learning how to use a graphics machine and cameras during a live TV broadcast, it also taught me how to speak with confidence and be proud of what I am doing.

Most importantly, I have learnt how to show people my worth and talent. I am truly thankful to Dallaglio RugbyWorks for this life changing experience, I would do it all again if I had the chance.

Raishay’s thanks, as I often try to tell him, are wholly unwarranted. All of us at Dallaglio RugbyWorks would like to thank him, not the other way round, for performing brilliantly and representing us so eloquently and professionally throughout the day.

Finally, I’d like to thank him personally. By continuously striving to better himself, to explore beyond his comfort zone, taking whatever life throws at him all the while, he is a fine example for me to follow. Perhaps it is that fact above any statistic that encapsulates the true value of our mentoring year.

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