London Irish HITZ Programme is an education and sporting programme for 16-24-year olds where you can:
This includes an exciting mix of sporting activities such as rugby, football, dodgeball, yoga, basketball and gym sessions alongside a structured educational programme. The programme also includes day trips.
Support with exit routes such as Level 2 programmes, apprenticeship programmes and full or part time work.
Go to the London Irish website and register via the apply button.
After this, you will be asked to come in for a meeting with the HITZ tutor and/or officer.
The HITZ team will find out a bit more about you and your current situation, and how they can best support you.
This is your chance to ask any questions about the education programme.
Alongside these qualifications, you will complete Functional Skills in English and Maths (if required), learn important work skills and participate in workshops to develop important life skills.
AINSLEY CAMPBELL - LONDON IRISH HITZ OFFICER
The successful award winning London Irish HITZ programme is led by Ainsley Campbell who is an energetic young sportsman who has played rugby for one of the top academies in the country. Ainsley is an ex-international athlete who competed for Great Britain when he was 17. After a serious injury cut short his career he decided to go into coaching and teaching. Ainsley went to Middlesex University to study Sports Development and Community Coaching where he was there he worked alongside the Tottenham Football Foundation. After university Ainsley became a behaviour mentor at a pupil referral unit in Slough called Haybrook. After finishing at Haybrook he started his journey with London Irish Hitz Programme.
GRAHAM PEARCE - TUTOR
LAURA WRIGHT - SUPPORT COORDINATOR
Hi, I’m Laura, I have been working on the Hitz programme for over a year and love what the HITZ programme stands for. I have had a varied career studying Art and working in Retail before to moving into education. I have 8 years’ experience of working on various Education & Training programmes which support in changing lives from adults to young persons, no matter how big or small. Hitz is a very rewarding programme and the range of enrichment activities that the participants get to experience is brilliant. It is definitely a great programme to be a part of and support all of the Premiership Rugby Hitz programmes.
In my spare time I enjoy going to Rugby and Netball games, spending time with family, friends, visiting new places in both the UK and abroad and I love watching Friends TV show!
Eric - London Irish
Eric is a 16-year old young male who was recommended to the programme through his cousin Ben Nutt. (Breakthru Programme Winner at the Parliamentary Awards 2017) Eric was initially a shy timid person who struggled to make eye contact. During the first meeting, he communicated via his father, and appeared on edge. At this meeting, we were informed that he had ADHD and was bullied severely at his old school, which would result in him not attending and regular arguments with his family, as well as him damaging items through sheer frustration. He was also involved in a court case as he was the victim of serious assault, where he was beaten up really badly, including stamping on the head. This attack lead to Eric suffering from random migraines, flashbacks and memory loss. He was also scared to leave his house without being accompanied. Thankfully, following the initial meeting, he agreed to give the course a try, and expressed excitement at joining.
Day 1 on course, he arrived his cousin, excited but also a little nervous and uneasy. We held a Playstation FIFA tournament and served pizza, which helped to break the ice. He was good at FIFA therefore felt more at ease and managed to settle in well. We offered the learners some old playing kit, which he was really honoured to received, texting when he got home to express his appreciation and enjoyment of the day. His mom also made contact to say how happy Eric was, and how he was speaking about it non-stop as well as researching everything about London Irish. For the first few months, Eric was a very happy young man. He was getting on well with everyone in class, arriving early to finish off work and helping out where he could. He mentioned that he “was glad to find the programme, otherwise he thinks he would have ended up killing himself as he hated his life”.
However, after a few months something changed in Eric as he started to act poorly, upsetting or annoying other learners in the classroom. A phone call from his mom informed us that Eric had been to the doctor and was put on anti-depressants, as he had mentioned he wanted to slit his wrist and she believed the threat was imminent. He was also then referred to CAMHS for more support (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). We met with Eric to see if he would open up about what he was experiencing, to which he expressed his constant nightmares about past incidents and that he was self-harming to help dull the pain. We spoke for a long time about the impact that self-harming and/or suicide would have on his life, as well as his family’s and he agreed to keep an open dialogue with all of us about how he was feeling. Following this episode, his behaviour did normalise and he seemed better.
Mid November we needed a mascot for one of the London Irish Home games, which Eric agreed to do, and much to our delight, he was brilliant at it. As he was so good at the role, London Irish have given him the job at every home, and he has impressed the fans so much with his enthusiasm and interaction, that he has his own thread on one of the fan forums. Eric having a job and earning money has even helped his family life at home as he now feels a sense of pride and wellbeing and can treat his family rather than asking to borrow money.
Tracey, Eric’s mum says: “I have seen my son Eric grow over the last couple of months into a happy confident boy who wants to get up and go and learn. Eric still has his bad days, but the bad days are nowhere near as bad as they used to be, and he has learnt how to deal with these bad days better. Eric’s confidence has increased back to the Eric he used be before the bullying, through him being the mascot and he loves doing it and interacting with the supporters. This course has done so much for him I don’t think he would have managed without it, the guys who run it go above and beyond their job to make sure everything is ok!”
George - London Irish
At 16 years old, Berkshire-based George Herbert’s career dreams were in tatters. Ever since he was young, he had aspirations of joining the army, picturing it as his dream career. However, after going through all the training, he found out it wasn’t for him which began a downward spiral in his life.
Attempting to arrest the slide, he enrolled at Reading College to get back into education. However, he soon realised he hadn’t fully got over the disappointment of his army dreams falling apart, becoming aggressive and falling into the wrong crowd.
This behaviour continued and unfortunately, it led to George being kicked out of college and stuck in a tough place with no academic future and no idea of what he wanted to do.
One constant in George’s life was the strong support of his mum, who never gave up on him. Through her work as a police officer, she heard about the London Irish HITZ programme, a local education and employability programme run by the rugby club to support 16-24-year-olds not in education, training or employment (NEET).
She arranged for George to meet the club’s HITZ Officer, Ainsley Campbell, something that wasn’t originally appreciated by him: “When she told me, straight away I said no, I don’t want to do anything like that, that’s not me,” explained George. “My mum had to drag me out of the house on that day and looking back, it’s the best thing she ever did. Speaking to Ainsley made me feel like I finally had someone who understood me, and it completely changed me.
“It felt like someone was on my side and it was completely different to what I was used to. He sat down with me and said we’re going to make something of you. It was nice to have someone who doesn’t care about what you’ve done in the past and tell you that you’re going to get through this. It was after that I decided that I’m going to get up every morning and make something out of myself.”
HITZ gave George’s life a renewed structure. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the learners were studying in the classroom at the John Madejski Academy in the mornings, followed by practical sessions in the afternoon. Wednesday was a day dedicated to playing rugby which used the sport’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to help the participants. Complementing these activities, Fridays saw the 20-strong cohort of students undertake work experience at the local Holiday Inn to learn vital employability skills to help their development.
After completing his BTEC qualification, George was considering staying on to study for a Level 2 qualification. However, with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and having learned so much from HITZ, he took the decision to seek full-time employment.
The HITZ Awards are annual celebration of the hard work put in by countless individuals up and down the country.
With a number of stars and well-known public figures in attendance on the night, it is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements, as well as the personal growth and development of a number of learners, and volunteers.
For more information on last years awards, please follow the link
How much does the programme cost?
It is completely Free of Charge
Do I have to like or play rugby?
Not at all, the programme will include a large range of sporting and physical activities.
How long does the programme last?
Each club runs their own timetable, but will last anywhere from 12 weeks to a full year
What qualifications will I do?
Each club will run different qualifications, please speak to your chosen club for more information.
Will I do Maths and English?
Yes, English and Maths will be included for all learners who do not currently have a qualification
How many days per week will I be in class?
Most clubs run for at least 3 days, but some run for up to 5 depending on their chosen programme.
How long is a day?
The majority of days will start at 9:30/10am and finish at 3:30/4pm.
Will there be financial support for travel and food?
This will depend on your personal circumstances and whether you are eligible for a bursary.
125 Hartland Road, Reading, RG2 8AF
SCL Education Group