A Bedworth teenager has started his first ever full-time job after receiving a boost from an education and employability programme delivered by Wasps.
Kieran Bolton has started working at Park Sheet Metal in Exhall as a part picker after excelling in an 80-plus hour work placement organised through the Wasps’ HITZ programme.
HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which works with more than 2,000 young people, aged 16 – 19 years old, every year.
HITZ, delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby’s member clubs, uses rugby’s core values to improve the personal, social and life skills to support young people back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment.
The 17-year-old enrolled in the HITZ programme after deciding the traditional college education route wasn’t working for him.
He impressed Park Sheet Metal during the work placement and has been given the opportunity to continue to develop his skills with the automotive supplier – which works with customers including Aston Martin, Bentley and McLaren.
Kieran said: “Since starting the programme with Wasps it has been perfect for me. I don’t think I would have got an opportunity like this without HITZ.
“It’s a nice environment, the work isn’t too difficult but you still get a challenge from it. It makes you feel comfortable in your ability.
“It was really good to hear that Park Sheet Metal was interested in taking me on full-time, it’s my first job. I’m keen to keep growing, building experience, knowledge, and I’m really enjoying working here.”
Graham Penter, Finance Director at Park Sheet Metal, said: “We approached Wasps to say that we were interested in giving young, enthusiastic people with the right mind-set opportunities through traineeships with the business.
“Kieran’s attitude has been fantastic, he completed more than 80 hours work with us and we were really pleased to be able to offer him a full-time job.
“This is the first time we have done something like this. We have previously struggled to find the right way of reaching out to young people in the local area and give them opportunities.
“This programme with Wasps has really helped and we are keen to take more trainees on in the future. Kieran has given us confidence that this approach really can work well.”
Participants in the HITZ programme regularly report an increase in resilience, self-confidence, and aspiration as a result of their involvement, and over 70 per cent go on to achieve a positive progression into further education, training, or employment.
Wasps are appealing for more businesses to support the programme and offer traineeship opportunities for the young people it supports.
Ian Isham, Head of Community at Wasps, added: “Kieran has had to deal with a lot of challenges from an early age. Throughout the programme he has grown in confidence, his contribution in the classroom is fantastic and he has built great relationships with fellow students.
“It’s fantastic that Kieran has now gained full-time employment with Park Sheet Metal. He is the perfect example of what HITZ hopes to achieve and we will keep in touch with Kieran to see how he develops with the business.
“To be able to deliver HITZ, it’s essential that we have the support of businesses with traineeships. We would welcome any business to get in touch with Wasps to see how they can get involved and support these young people.”