HITZ Helps Eve Transform her Future

Eve had not left home for almost two years after the pandemic, and on occasion confined herself to her bedroom. In February last year, with the unwavering support of her mum, Eve finally took her first brave step outside, and never looked back thanks to the unique learning environment of HITZ.

Initially on arrival at HITZ, Eve was so nervous to enter and chose to watch the session behind the glass door but surprised the team by returning the next day. Staff welcomed Eve into the HITZ family and buddied her up with a fellow student, helping her feel more at ease to talk about future goals, her education and life.

Never missing a single day at the Sale Sharks HITZ programme, Eve made lifelong friends, achieved outstanding qualifications and completed work experience that changed the path of her life forever.

HITZ nurtured a self-belief in Eve which pushed her out of her comfort zone to accept a work experience placement with local housing development firm Connolly Ltd. Embracing every task given to her with the polite, respectful well-mannered nature she displayed at HITZ, Eve’s hard-work ethic and high standards were quickly recognised by Connolly who offered her an apprenticeship seeing a bright future for Eve within the business.

“I learnt so much on HITZ and life is very different now. I want to develop the skills I’ve been taught during work experience to work across various departments and would love to move up the ladder in the future at Connolly.” Adds 18-year-old Eve.

Eve is just one inspirational individual being celebrated during Community Weekend Round 14 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby (29th – 31st March). Over the weekend, all games will be dedicated to the award-winning community programmes run by Premiership Rugby in collaboration with its shareholder Clubs and Club Foundations. The weekend celebrates how the rugby community is one big family – giving support, instilling confidence, improving mental wellbeing and providing a sense of belonging. Eve’s story showcases how rugby can change lives.

HITZ is the award-winning education and employability programme delivered through the network of Premiership Rugby Clubs and Club Foundations which for 15 years has supported young people to make positive changes in their lives. A specific focus on understanding young people and nurturing their goals, along with an environment very different to mainstream education, has resulted in many participants describing HITZ as a family. With positive role models dedicating time to these young people, treating them with respect and being there for them through tough times, HITZ students leave the programme better equipped to navigate their next steps in life and carve out a clear path for independence.

Since it started back in 2008, the HITZ programme has helped over 22,000 14–24-year-olds across England. The community programme supports young people not in education, employment or training using rugby’s core values to get participants back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment. Participants develop invaluable personal, life and employability skills so they can go forward in life.

Wayne Morris, Community & CSR Director, Premiership Rugby says “Over the last 15 years the success rate of the HITZ programme speaks for itself, it has helped over 80% of the learners move on positively. HITZ is not only a programme where young people are able to gain qualifications. It is a stepping stone to employment – the teams expertly build up participant’s skills, confidence, and experience to set people like Eve up for success and future independence. The effectiveness of a supportive nurturing environment with gentle guidance that HITZ provides has been demonstrated here by the Sale Sharks Foundation team. It is stories like Eve’s that reaffirm why we are committed to continuing to future proof programmes like HITZ and we wish her every success at Connolly Ltd.”

About HITZ

Supported by partners CVC, East Head Impact and with Central YMCA as the programme’s official education provider, HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby’s 10 shareholder clubs.

Premiership Rugby HITZ Programme Stats:

  • Over 22,000 14-24-year-olds enrolled on a HITZ programme 
  • 75% of young people have completed the programme 
  • 83% progressed immediately into education, employment or training 
  • 85% expressed an increase in soft skills (e.g. communication, confidence) 
  • 90% expressed an increase in physical and mental wellbeing 

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