Bath College and Bath Rugby Foundation have been running a special summer course, working with unemployed young people to improve their job prospects.
The Advantage course is in partnership with the Department of Work & Pensions and Bath Rugby’s charity, and is for 18 to 24-year-olds who are, or in danger of becoming, ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
Working with Bath Job Centre, the course was created to not only encourage young people to enrol on college courses or gain the confidence to find job roles, but also to create a peer support group within them in which they could encourage and support each other on their journey.
The learners started the course finding it difficult to engage and ended with enthusiasm and new-found confidence.
The opportunities the Advantage students have gained access to have been very broad, with one offered a place on a performing arts course at college and another moving into supported housing after being homeless and sofa surfing.
Leah, who has just completed the Advantage course said: “I have enrolled on a college course as I have enjoyed this course so much that I want to continue. It has made me feel safe and confident and I have had fun too.”
Luke found his confidence while completing the course: “This course has given me something that school and college didn’t manage to.
“I now know what I want to do and this makes me get up in the morning. I now have self-belief that I can make something of myself and this motivates me to get up.”
Joe Aygul, Employability Officer at Bath Rugby Foundation said: “Working in partnership with Bath College this summer has been incredible, we have been able to create a unique and bespoke training course that has without doubt positively impacted the lives of young people in our community.
“Watching our students grow in confidence over the past five weeks has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career.
“The journey these young people have been on in this short time has been remarkable, from starting as un-engaged ‘NEETs’ at the beginning of the course to now leaving us with aspirations and opportunities for further education, employment and training.
“The future looks bright for these guys and the team at Bath Rugby Foundation look forward to collaborating with Bath College again in the future.”
Anna Wheeler, Community Engagement Manager at Bath College said: “The Advantage programme has been so much more than a collaboration between Bath College and Bath Rugby Foundation to upskill a group of young people.
“It has been innovative and dynamic with input from a huge range of local partner organisations and experiences both challenging and exciting.
“The group’s confidence has grown alongside new skills and experiences and every member of staff involved has been inspired by the enthusiasm, talent and positivity they have shown”.
For more details about the ‘Advantage’ course, visit: www.bathrugbyfoundation.com/advantage