From education to employment

Yorkshire’s Learning Boost for Boxing and Rugby League

Club staff and volunteers working in boxing and rugby league clubs in Yorkshire will have access to learning through a new initiative that aims to improve literacy, numeracy and language skills.

Launched by former featherweight boxing champion, Barry McGuigan, the Conversion to Learning programme is aimed at ground staff, coaches, office staff, membership staff, judges and referees. The Conversion to Learning is a two year programme funded by Trade Union Congress” (TUC’s) Union Learning Fund. The GMB Union, in partnership with the Sector Skills Council (SSC) SkillsActive, applied for £400,000 in funds for the regional programme to put language and skills development at the top of the agenda in the rugby and boxing workforce.

The initiative will be a partnership and will see the SSC work with colleges and training providers in the region to offer individual learning plans to meet the needs of both the learner and the employer. SkillsActive’s partnership with the GMB Union is one of many partnerships fostered by the government-approved agency responsible for steering productivity and skills in the Active Leisure and Learning Sector.

A Real Opportunity

Rob Williams, SkillsActive’s Regional Development Manager, welcomed the launch of the programme. He commented: “Sport is being used more and more as a solution to a number of social issues. Encouraging young people and adults to improve their skills through boxing and rugby league, is a real opportunity for Yorkshire and builds a platform of regional learning for the future.”

He continued, adding: “Sport attracts people from all communities, particularly those who are disengaged with education and training. The programme will give young people and adults the opportunity to improve their skills and transform their lives both at home and at work.”

The meteoric rise of “celebrity” sports stars ““ the likes of David Beckham, Andrew Flintoff, Jonny Wilkinson and Ronnie O”Sullivan to name a few – and the relentless media obsession with sporting personalities, have significantly contributed to making sport a national, regional and local focus over the past decade. The unwavering popularity has made sport a powerful medium for projects aiming to tackle social inclusion and other social problems.

Better Fitness in Youth

Improving fitness levels, engaging children and young people to curb the rise of young delinquents and developing literacy and numeracy levels are a few examples of the endeavours of sports development work which work in line with the government”s agenda of improving health, reducing crime and cutting down the barriers to education and training.

The Conversion to Learning initiative is a positive scheme to boost job prospects in Yorkshire by raise the skills of the rugby and boxing workforce – two extremely popular sports in the region. Ironically, the Conversion to Learning initiative which aims to benefit those socially excluded in the region is offered to boxing and rugby league clubs only – the less well-off non-league clubs will not have access to this initiative to develop the skills of their non-league staff. The division between league and non-league clubs remains at large.

Manju Rani

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