National recognition for HITZ graduate Pentland

Friday 19 November 2021 Written by: Adam

Michael is a graduate of Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme, delivered by Newcastle Falcons with our educational partner, Newcastle College.

HITZ works with more than 2,000 14 to 23-year-olds across England every year. Using the core values of rugby, which includes teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, HITZ aims to get young people back into work, education, training and/or employment.

The HITZ Young Achiever Award recognises and rewards a young person who, by overcoming a range of challenges, has worked hard to progress on their journey back to education, training or employment. It is someone who has persevered, despite setbacks; grown personally and socially, despite initially lacking confidence; and made new friends despite lacking personal or social skills.

It is someone who has truly embraced the experience of the HITZ programme, with the support and help from both tutors and delivery staff to forge a more positive future for themselves.

Michael’s loss of two close male family role models had such a detrimental effect that at his lowest he struggled with thoughts of suicide. Michael credits HITZ with giving him the confidence to keep going. Talking to his tutors and peers about his experiences and mental health challenges helped him find focus and direction.

This and his high standards of work and polite nature earnt him an apprenticeship at Falcons as a community coach. Having got a taste for a more positive future, Michael wants to complete other qualifications available via the HITZ programme and aspires to run his own boxing gym one day.

Melanie Magee, head of foundation for the Newcastle Rugby Foundation, said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted HITZ participants from the 2021 awards.

“Michael has gone on an incredible journey and benefited massively from being part of our own HITZ programme, showing a huge amount of hard work and dedication.

“Seeing him recognised at a major national awards ceremony was a fantastic moment for everyone involved in our programme, and will hopefully provide inspiration for others to come and benefit from being part of HITZ.”