Gloucester Rugby’s Jared Spence crowned BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year
Jared Spence celebrated one of the biggest nights of his life as he won the BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year Award – supported by SCL – at the 2019 Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards.
After dropping out of school in year 10 and subsequently struggling to leave his house, Jared turned his life around through Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme.
HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs which works with over 2,000 14 to 18-year-olds every year and gets them back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment.
Thanks to the help of the programme, Jared was able to complete his qualifications as well as build his confidence and recover from his darker times.
He said: “It means a lot to have won the award. I’ve come from quite a difficult time and I feel this is one of the biggest points in my life.
“The programme has changed me quite a lot. I’ve come from not being able to go out to doing a lot of things I wouldn’t normally do.
“If you were to tell me a year ago that I would be here winning this award I wouldn’t have believed anything like this could happen.
“My family and friends have definitely noticed a difference in me. I would just sit at home doing the bare minimum.
“I feel a lot more confident now than a year or two ago.”
Shortlisted duo Courtney Bell of Newcastle Falcons and Wasps’ Danielle Tuson have also benefitted from HITZ, but Jared took home the prize having also gained his gym instructor level two qualification through the programme as he works towards his dream of becoming a personal instructor.
“I’ve just got my level two gym instructor qualification, now I’m aiming for level three and I want to be a personal trainer, it’s going to be hard but I’ll get there,” Jared added.
“I like helping people. I feel like if I can get somebody out of a similar situation to what I was in then that’s the most important thing.
“Moving forward, the programme opens up a lot of opportunity for jobs. I’d recommend any programme like this as the benefits to me were big so I feel that anyone who takes the opportunity will not regret it.”
SCL divisional employability lead Ian Cooper helped judge the award and he praised Jared’s ability to bounce park from a difficult past and emphasised the role sport can play in changing society.
He said: “It’s fantastic and very humbling at the same time to be here, all you need to do is look at the view and look at the clientele that are here.
“For a young person like Jared to have gone through that, it would have been very easy to give up, give up on society, to have lots of negative connotations about education, society and life in general.
“To see someone that young go through so much and, at the same time, then having turned his life around is staggering.
“Sport is a catalyst, physically and mentally in equal capacity. It gets you active, it keeps you healthy but also it helps level you out and also clear the brain. If we can promote the combination of education and sport and the huge impact it can have on people’s lives that can only be for the best.
“One of the main aims with SCL is to leave a legacy in every community we serve be it from Newcastle all the way down to Exeter and I think the BREAKTHRU award really epitomises everything we do in terms of legacy.”