With a turnover around the £500,000 mark, Sport Works has been engaging with young people of all abilities through sport since 2009. It has recently experienced a period of growth, expanding from its Newcastle base to operate a national franchise network across 11 sites.
The team of 15 staff works with around 2,000 young people each year and is passionate about improving education outcomes for those who might not have an interest in traditional classroom learning.
The North East remains central to the business, with the Sport Works team successfully delivering a Sport Traineeship contract for 65 young people in the region and developing a standalone apprenticeship programme.
Employers in the sport and leisure industry are being sought to deliver apprenticeships and traineeships to young people with support from Sport Works.
Young people who are looking for a career in sport are also being encouraged to get in touch.
Neil Cameron, managing director at Sport Works, said: “We’re really keen to develop the traineeship and apprenticeship by targeting the sport and leisure industry and have every confidence that businesses in the North East will recognise the benefits of getting involved.
“Our mission is to improve outcomes for young people, both educationally and helping them towards the jobs market, and traineeships and apprenticeships are a great way to do this. In helping young people achieve qualifications they may not have otherwise had access to, we can develop their confidence as well as giving them the skills they need to start their career.
“The Government backed Traineeships in Sport programme is a 10 to 15 week course for any 16 to 24 year olds who wish to access the programme, including those not already in education or training (NEET). It’s designed to bridge the gap between school and apprenticeships, or other further and higher education qualifications.”
With many young people experiencing barriers to progression commonly outside of their control it can often lead to them dropping out of education entirely with responsibility landing on the state for the fallout.
Neil said: “We work with local authorities, schools, community groups anyone in fact who requires support for young people who may be on the wrong path and need to recalibrate. For them sport educational programmes are a fantastic way to engage, providing a level of focus that has perhaps been lost in the more traditional classroom setting.”
Sport Works has delivered educational sport mentoring programmes across Stockton, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and right across the North East for local authorities, schools and community groups across the region; often targeting the most disruptive, disenfranchised and vulnerable young people.
He said: “It’s about changing individuals perceptions of themselves because until you can instil self-belief you will never change the outcome.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some of sports’ greats and experience what is required mentally to succeed, or cope with failure, at the very highest level. But we’re not looking for the next Alan Shearer here, we simply want to improve outcomes in young people and this is something that can require a very different approach for different people.
“Whether it’s helping somebody who lives with disability have a better standard of living or someone else from a deprived background gain a qualification they wouldn’t have previously considered possible, then that is our goal.”
Sport Works is a social enterprise registered as a Community Interest Company which includes a national franchise operation. With its head office at The Core in the centre of Newcastle the company will shortly be rolling out the Traineeship model nationally.
If you are an employer in the sport and leisure industry interested in delivering apprenticeships or traineeships, or a young person looking for a career in sport, contact Sport Works on 0191 5800 120 or visit: www.sportworksltd.co.uk.