Futures programme empowering young people

Wednesday 05 June 2024 Written by: Mark Smith

After launching in Teesside in March of this year, Newcastle Rugby Foundation’s Futures programme has now been delivered to over 80 young people in schools and colleges across the region. 

Pioneered by former rugby star Tony Underwood and co-authored by acclaimed coach Lysa Morrison alongside former double Olympian Chris Cook, the Futures learning objective is about embedding lessons on emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-belief into a fun, six-part programme of activities and group discussions.

Futures is designed for young people who are not currently realising their potential due to a range of factors including a lack of confidence, lack of positive role models and other social and emotional needs.

So far the Futures programme has been delivered to cohorts at Prior Pursglove College, Nunthorpe Academy, Outwood Bydales, Outwood Redcar, Huntcliffe School and Bede Sixth Form College. 

Ian Hewitt, a member of the teaching staff at Bede Sixth Form, said: “We have seen the students grow in maturity, which has been excellent to see in such a short space of time. The students have also developed some leadership skills, specifically the ability to empathise and understand how others think, their actions and how it impacts people around them.”

Luca, a student who completed the programme, said: “I liked the Futures programme because it helped me with my problems and showed me what to do with them. I learned how to read people’s emotions and it has made me a better person. I liked all the games we played, and I liked the Futures Challenge. I would say to someone doing it in the future, don’t worry about it and have a good time – the people that run it are very nice and you will have a good time.”

Neil Young, Teesworks Skills Academy development manager, said: “The Futures programme is a great way to engage young people and allow them to think about the wider opportunities and skills needed outside of the curriculum to help them develop and grow ready for the world of work.

“Having Newcastle Rugby Foundation spearheading the programme brings a different dynamic and allows for the young people to open up and have some excellent conversations and overcome barriers that they may not feel is appropriate to do inside a classroom or educational environment.”

The data collected so far shows that there was a 16.2% increase in self-belief amongst the young people who took part in the programme, with 91.5% of them feeling hopeful for their futures upon completion of the course, compared with 78.9% before the programme began.

There was a 10% increase in the young people feeling able to deal with issues in their lives in a positive way after experiencing Futures, with 71.5% saying they felt like the relationships in their lives were positive often or all the time, compared with 63.1% feeling that way before attending Futures sessions.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors at Electricity North East, Futures will be delivered to eight more groups of young people across schools and colleges in Teesside, taking the total number of young people’s lives that have been positively impacted by Futures to well more than 150.

To find out more about the programme please contact jake.vandervelde@newcastle-falcons.co.uk.