- 18-24 year olds account for 91.5% of all NEET people
- Over 630,000 young people are NEET
- The Kickstart scheme has created over 120,000 jobs as of November 2021
At The Harlequins Foundation we are passionate about placing apprentices in local schools in the area, giving them real hands-on experience and supporting schools in achieving their sports visions.
We caught up with Matheus, an apprentice with The Harlequins Foundation working at local schools, to find out more about what the apprenticeship programme means to him.
What is it like to be an apprentice?
“Being an apprentice is very rewarding as you get to work with professionals in your chosen field. It is a great way to do something you love and get first-hand experience which you cannot get at university. Coming from a less privileged background, it is a great way to get qualified whilst making money and not accumulating debt.”
What’s rewarding about the apprenticeship?
“Working in the PE department you instantly become a role model for the kids, and for me that is powerful as it gives you an opportunity to have a positive impact on the kids you work with. Seeing the kids put in the effort to better a skill you are teaching them is very rewarding. It has given me the opportunity to do things I thought I never would have done a year ago, such as mentoring and being a boxing coach at various schools within the area.”
What’s been difficult?
“I have difficulties in learning names. When you suddenly have hundreds of names to learn it can be very overwhelming. It’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot; however, I have adapted some techniques to help me with it and I am getting much better at it, which is helping me build more personal relationships with the kids and be more confident doing my job.
“Working in a school can take up a lot of your time so learning how to better time management has been key for me to make sure I am keeping on top of things and avoiding stress which can impact your ability to effectively do your job and manage your mental health.”
Is there anything about the apprenticeship that’s surprised you?
“The thing that has surprised me the most is the support given to me by the teachers in making me feel included within the team. I have been shown a lot of support and guidance.”
When you started the apprenticeship, did you have goals for when you finished? Have those changed since?
“I started working at Grey Court in the Kickstarter scheme for 6 months and my goal was to really leave my mark within the school. I was successful as the school kept me on for the apprenticeship programme and my target still remains the same, however, in a deeper and more meaningful way this time. I want to show the kids that anything really is possible if you have belief, hard work and consistency. My goal is to be a boxing champion and give back to my community.”
What are some highlights from the apprenticeship programme so far?
“Some of the highlights of my apprenticeship so far is being able to set up boxing clubs at Grey Court and other schools seeing the positive impact it is having on the kids.
“Coaching the football team during their games. I always looked up to my coaches and I now can be that positive influence in another kid’s life.
“Doing something I love rather than just showing up.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an apprentice so far?
“Don’t quit, be resilient.”