In October last year BNP Paribas Personal Finance teamed up with England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio to bring his Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme to the West Midlands, helping to support young people excluded from mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.
The three-year working partnership will see BNP Paribas in the West Midlands (Personal Finance, Arval, Real Estate and Commercial Finance) fund much of the charity’s work across the region. By 2021 Dallaglio and his team aim to enable 80% of Year 12 students to sustain their place in further education, training courses or employment.
BNP Paribas will work with the charity to get other organisations on board to support young people through skills training, career taster days and funding opportunities to expand the programme.
Dallaglio RugbyWorks uses the power of rugby to help teenagers who have fallen out of mainstream education to access opportunities for training and employment. Not wanting to waste any time, the coaches are already on site at seven Alternative Provision (AP) facilities across the West Midlands helping to leverage rugby’s values of discipline, respect and commitment to help change the young people’s lives.
Read on to hear from Jose who was on the RugbyWorks programme and is now a coach….
How did you come to know about Dallaglio RugbyWorks?
Back in November 2014 I was looking for a school in England as I had just moved here from Portugal. However, due to my difficulties with the language as well as my age, every school that I tried to apply for rejected me as I was in Year 11.
This was until the council sent me a letter for an interview at Francis Barber Pupil Referral Unit. At first I was scared as I heard that PRU schools are usually for ‘bad’ young people so I thought I was going to get made fun of for not speaking English.
My first day of school was on a Friday and I didn’t have many lessons that day, however there was this new rugby thing that was going to come down to the school for the first time. As I had never played rugby before, I wasn’t looking forward to it. When I was about to leave the school I saw the coaches coming in and they looked very charismatic and very friendly so I gave it a go. I put my backpack on the side and joined in. By the end of the session I was surprised by how much fun I had and how nice the coaches were. I decided to come back every single week.
How did the programme and rugby change your lifestyle?
Joining the programme helped me develop my interpersonal skills as well as my whole lifestyle.
My interpersonal skills developed increasingly during the programme; my communication in particular, because I had to talk a lot during the games and I had to communicate with the coaches and other young people in the sessions. On the other hand, my lifestyle changed as well. From a young age I always struggled with my weight, but because I was motivated to perform better in the sessions, I decided to change the way I eat and started to exercise at home. I was able to lose a substantial amount of weight which helped me to develop my speed and skills, which later helped me join a rugby team called the Brixton Bulls.
What did RugbyWorks do for you?
I never saw RugbyWorks as a programme, I saw them as a family and I still do to this day. Dallaglio RugbyWorks helped me create my first ever CV, supported my application to College and helped me improve my interview skills. The coaches helped me improve rugby skills during the sessions, but more importantly they were there for me outside the sessions too and helped me when I had struggles off the pitch. They had my back no matter what and they wanted me to succeed.
How did the coaches make that change and support your journey?
During the programme while I was at Francis Barber and when I moved on to College, the coaches maintained contact with me so if I ever needed anything I knew I could always count on them to help me out. I would always look up to them and I wanted to improve myself in every way so that I could show them that I was able to succeed. I always tried my best to make my mentor proud.
How did going through the programme help you when you started coaching?
Going through the programme helped me when I started coaching because I developed my social skills and it taught me how to talk to young people in a way to not aggravate or create any situation. I have been in their shoes. I don’t judge the young people for what they have done to get to where they are, or look at them differently. I know what they are going through when they are in their off days or when they are more aggressive, it all comes down to what triggered them to react that way. The pressure the young people are constantly under can really affect how they react to you and how they will get along with you, and I truly genuinely understand how hard it gets. Now working at
Dallaglio RugbyWorks, I look at coaching with a different perspective and I choose my words and actions accordingly because the most minuscule thing could trigger someone and impact the session.
How does your story reflect on Dallaglio Rugbyworks?
In my opinion, Dallaglio RugbyWorks helped me to discover new interests and to shape my life in a much better way than I had ever planned. Before joining the programme, I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do with my future but as soon as I joined, as a young person I saw the impact that coaching had in my life and I knew I wanted to do something along those lines as a career. It motivated me to do well in college and in life overall. I am now a coach for Dallaglio Rugbyworks, where I can help to change other young people’s lives the same way it changed mine.
To find out more about our partnership with Dallaglio RugbyWorks and how you can help read on