Edinburgh Rugby tackle youth unemployment
Pictured: Edinburgh Rugby launch the Game On project – SNS Group.
Edinburgh Rugby have been using the power of the sport to tackle youth unemployment in the region.
As part of a new three-year ‘Game On’ initiative, participants are given the opportunity to develop transferable skills in a 12-week block, run in partnership with education organisation Rathbone and charity Wooden Spoon.
Those involved in the programme will learn to play and coach the game, as well as earning associated skills and qualifications to enhance their employability.
The participants will also be given the chance to take part in work experience placements both in sporting and non-sporting environments.
Edinburgh Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw, said: “This is a fantastic programme aimed at using rugby to change the lives of young people.
“Rugby gives people great experiences and really improves the person. If the Game On participants can get even a small amount of the experiences that I have enjoyed through rugby then it will make an enormous and positive impact on their lives.”
The first intake of ten young people has just come through the 12-week programme, complete with employability qualifications, improved self-esteem and increased motivation.
Mark Coull, Edinburgh Rugby Game On Project Development Officer, said: “It was a great first group to work. Every participant committed brilliantly to the programme.
“If every Game On group is as good as this one then it will be very enjoyable and worthwhile.”
Game On graduate, Joe Colquhoun, agreed: “It was great fun and an excellent opportunity to gain new skills and meet new mates.”
The initiative has a target to engage with over 690 young people in the community aged 16-19.
With the sport at its core, it is delivered alongside drugs and alcohol education, time with the 1 Scots battalion at Dreghorn Barracks and the Edinburgh Rugby community team at Murrayfield Stadium.
“The programme (Game On) is still in its infancy and we will continually improve the experience for the young people,” said Coull.
“We are always looking for new participants and new partners who can assist and improve it.
“We have long way to go to reach our target in terms of engaging with these young people but we’ve made a great start.”