Rugby and Bulkington MP Mark Pawsey has been given a first-hand glimpse into Wasps’ efforts to help the region’s young people back into education and employment.
Last week Pawsey visited Ricoh Arena to meet the latest intake of 16 to 18-year-olds on the Wasps HITZ programme.
HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme working with more than 2,000 14 to 18-year-olds across England every year with support from Land Rover, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon.
The programme targets young people who aren’t currently in education, employment or training with the chance to earn qualifications, as well as take part in enrichment activities outside of the classroom and careers advice.
The MP heard the story of Coventry transgender teenager Carter Moran who spoke about how he has used sport and the HITZ programme at Wasps to overcome the impact of school bullies and transform his life.
Carter missed the majority of his secondary school years after being bullied for having Gender Dysphoria – where a person experiences discomfort due to a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. After joining Wasps’ HITZ programme in February 2016, Carter’s role has grown from a participatory one to a leadership role, and he is now undertaking an apprenticeship which allows him to pass on his experience to other disadvantaged youngsters who take part in the HITZ programme.
Pawsey, MP for Rugby and Bulkington, said: “Programmes such as those being delivered by Wasps play a vital role in giving youngsters the best possible chance of going on to have successful careers.
“These programmes bring together people from all walks of life who, for a variety of reasons, need some additional help identifying an occupation they are interested in and ways that they can pursue an interest.
“Carter’s story is a truly inspirational one – the Wasps HITZ programme has enabled Carter to recover from the years he missed at school, and I was really impressed by his bravery and determination to succeed.”
As well as watching a tag rugby session taking place, Pawsey was also given a tour of Wasps’ sensory room, which caters for adults and children with autism and other disabilities, on first-team matchdays.
Anthony O’Reilly is the Wasps HITZ Officer, who has helped deliver the life-changing 24-week study programme to more than 80 young people since 2016.
He added: “The young people who take part in our programme walk away as well-rounded individuals in terms of their academic knowledge, confidence and new skills – this is a springboard for their future lives.
“We were thrilled to have Mark Pawsey along to find out more about the work that we do, and following his visit, we hope he will spread the word about the work that we are doing to support young people in need of help.”
To find out more about the Wasps HITZ programme visit www.wasps.co.uk/hitz