By Calum Gauld,
As we have no reached the halfway point of our first Edinburgh course we thought we would give you an update of what we have been up to…
The course has been immensely enjoyable and worthwhile for everyone involved. We are averaging just shy of 20 bodies each day which has been fantastic. The group themselves have been stars with each of them fully immersing themselves in all aspects of the course. The desire and effort out on the pitch has been beyond commendable. Their focus and attention along with standard of work towards their qualifications (employability award, community achievement award and SOHK modules) has been both satisfying and in truth slightly surprising. They seem to enjoy and engage just as much with the ‘Un-Fun’ aspect of what we do as they do out on the pitch. One great source of joy for staff and participants has been the standard of catering. Our caterers Caledonian Hospitality never fail to put on a mouth-watering spread. Catering to all including vegetarian, Gluten Free and Halal. The baked potatoes, pork and wedges, steak pie and roast chicken dinner have been particular highlights for all.
We have blessed in the fact that each day has been dry so far *touches wood*, in fact experiencing some truly sensational weather. SOHK Edinburgh are also blessed to have 2 fantastic coaches on board to deliver the rugby and fitness training. Callum Black and Ross Young (pictured below) have built up outstanding rapport and respect with the participants. This has led to their rugby development being far more advanced at this stage than any of us could have imagined. Along with aiding and assisting the enjoyment factor for everyone involved. The group were introduced to contact in only their second week which is staggering compared to previous courses elsewhere. In that second week, they also completed their fitness testing giving a base line to work towards, we will test them all again in the final week so they can see how far they have progressed. This week just gone they got their first taste of competitive rugby in a touch match against our west counterparts in Glasgow. A thoroughly enjoyable experience!
With regards to classroom work the group have covered a variety of topics. Through our SOHK modules we have looked at goal setting, SMART goals, resilience, DNA of a champion along with the benefits of work and the hidden job market. Although only a short period we have seen the impact these sessions are having on the group along with reoccurring themes and messages transferring over to the rugby. In terms of employability award the group have powered their way through 2 units already. The units have focused on Preparing for Employment along with Dealing with work situations. They have done a lot of self-reflection looking at their past experiences to identify their skills and qualities. This proved to be an enlightening task for them all, helping to again build their confidence.
Over the coming weeks we will move on to the Building Own Employment skills as their next unit. This will have a practical focus on job searching such as application best practice, CV building along with interview skills. We have arranged for all participants to undertake a mock interview with our funders Heineken providing the interviewers along with a corporate premise for these to take place. As the course reaches a conclusion we will look to step up our support regarding the aftermath of the course. We have discussions in place and meeting with a variety of businesses to refer to for work experience and such like. In fact one of our participants has already completed some work experience we arranged with a local deli. This is something we are keen to provide along with assisting through our tailored 1-1 meetings to secure employment, some have recently secure interviews so are hopeful a few will secure work in the coming weeks.
With regards to rugby we have a match organised to end the course, the first match that most of our guys will have ever played. This will be against a local side called the Caledonian Thebans and played at the Murrayfield where the group is based. This is something they are all wildly excited about and in the past has proven to be great celebration and family event.
We use sport to tackle the issues surrounding unemployment, crime and health. We work with individuals to help them take reponsibility and take positive steps forward in their lives.