Northampton Saints Foundation is continuing with Premiership Rugby’s award-winning HITZ programme as closely as possible to normal during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Funded by Premiership Rugby’s partners Land Rover and Wooden Spoon, HITZ is the league’s flagship education and employability programme which works with more than 2,000 young people across England every year.
HITZ uses rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to get young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships or employment – with over 70% of participants going on to achieve a positive progression.
There are 31 learners currently enrolled on Northampton Saints HITZ courses, and despite the challenges involved in continuing the programme during social distancing restrictions, they are not slowing down.
“We’ve actually seen an increase in attendance with 90% of our current learners logging in.”Shirley Malin, HITZ Officer at Saints Foundation
The Saints Foundation’s HITZ delivery team have had to think outside the box since schools closed, and have been given plenty of support by official education provider SCL who have set HITZ participants up on an online learning platform which provides Maths and English lessons, ongoing support with qualifications from tutors, and the opportunity to participate in other activities that will contribute to their future.
“The technology we have at our fingertips today is fantastic and it means that, despite the current situation we find ourselves in, we have not had to compromise when it comes to our students’ learning,” said Shirley Malin, HITZ Officer at Saints Foundation.
“This solution has worked better than I had initially expected, and it’s been fantastic to see our students engaging with the classes and logging on to be taught by Tamara – we’ve actually seen an increase in attendance with 90% of our current learners logging in so we’re investigating how we might utilise working remotely in the long term.
“Our students are given specific work to complete and upload, as well as challenges with each other, and fitness work-outs to ensure they are staying healthy in mind and in body! We’ve been enjoying catching up with the students using video chat software; it gives us a chance to chat and check on their well-being too in these strange times.”
Tamara Richards, Lead Tutor at SCL, added: “Our learners have been absolutely phenomenal; they have embraced working remotely and attendance has been incredible.
“I’m so proud of them all and the feedback has been amazing. I’m very grateful for the support of Shirley and the entire HITZ team at the Saints Foundation as we wouldn’t be able to complete the workload alone.
“It’s been challenging to adjust but it’s safe to say we’re excited about what is to come.”
HITZ at Home – Saints Foundation Student Testimonials
Amber: “I was a little scared of the technology at first, but I am still learning every day which is great.”
Reece: “Adjusting to learning remotely was quite hard at first, but actually now we have been at it for over a week, I am finding concentrating on my own at home easier without any distractions inside a classroom!”
Bailey: “I feel like I have adapted to the work well and I think this situation will actually help us all for the future in case we need to work remotely in a job role.”
Alex: “Accessing the teaching material is easy and I have been able to continue learning my favourite subjects which has been fantastic.”
Jordan: “I definitely prefer the HITZ courses and learning within a regular classroom environment, but I understand why we are doing this and am grateful that I’ve been able to continue.”
Sydney: “I have been able to continue the course and I still feel really supported by the Saints HITZ team thanks to the video chats we’ve been able to have.”