Many of us have felt like a small pebble in a big, wide world. It seems like we have to make a lot of major decisions while we’re young: do you want to go to uni? What do you want to pursue as a career? How do you gain the skills you need to pursue said career? If you don’t have the support or resources you need to make these decisions, you may feel even more lost.
Jason Robinson OBE and former England Rugby International want to help young people gain work experience and get jobs through rugby with the O2 Touch Tour and Go Think Big programme.
Go Think Big will allow 250 people, aged 16-24, the opportunity to participate in a six week, career training and mentoring programme that is led by Robinson. He will share his personal experiences on how rugby helped him overcome adversity and taught him valuable life lessons.
After six weeks training, participants will be appointed a job role, from coaching to PR, and will aid in running the O2 Touch Tour. They will utilise the skills they learned on the field to supplement their work off the field.
If you are interested in participating, there is still time to apply. Head over to gothinkbig.co.uk to upload your CV and 100 words to support your application. Applications are due by 15th May.
Could you tell us about the Go Think Big Tour?
I’m delighted to be working with the Go Think Big program and the O2 Touch Tour. We’ve been working with some young people who are unemployed and we’ve been doing some training with them. They’re going to be involved with one of the tours so we’re teaching them how to play, how to coach, and also how to put on an event.
I understand the challenges that some of these young people have that come from a disadvantaged background. Some of them are a bit disillusioned with life in general and the Go Think Big program will help them. Rugby is great because it has a lot of values that you can take from field to life like team values, discipline, leadership, and hard work. It’s trying to get them on the career ladder, whether that’s some digital training, trying to get them into apprenticeships, and ultimately find them full time jobs.
Would you say there were any moments when you were younger where rugby helped you through a difficult time?
Massively, yeah. We had a tough time growing up but rugby sort of caters for all backgrounds, all different shapes and sizes, there’s a position for you in rugby. I think because of the physical nature it appealed to me, having a lot of frustrations. It enabled me to get rid of those frustrations but also maintain discipline. Again, just overcoming confidence issues by working with a team and having people give you support and believing in you by saying, “well done. That was a good effort.” Not everybody’s going to go on to be a World Cup winning rugby player, but what we’re trying to do is inspire young people to participate in rugby and help them with career opportunities.
Who do you think this opportunity is best for? Who would be your ideal person?
I suppose all young people are the ideal people. Especially when you come out of school and you’re not quite sure what to do, what avenue to take, sometimes those young people need to be exposed to other environments. You may never have thought a job in particular would be something for you, but if we can help skill people, help them with training, then they could go on to do things they wouldn’t have thought possible. That affects people in such a positive way.
What is your desired outcome from the whole tour? What are you hoping to achieve from it?
From a very simple point of view it’s just to encourage and inspire young people and give them opportunities. I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside O2 in lots of different ways over the years. They’ve been a great sports arena for rugby, and while that’s great it’s so important to go back to grassroots and to keep working with young people. Especially in deprived areas or those areas where rugby is not often played.
Do you have any personal advice for young, unemployed, people who want to get moving on the career ladder?
For those who are not quite sure where they want to go or if they need help, lots can be done now with computers and IT. That’s such a big part of life for everybody, but more so with the younger generation. By going onto gothinkbig.co.uk they’ve got an opportunity to find out a lot more about what’s happening. It’s just about visiting the website and seeing if something appeals to them and hopefully we can help them in some area.