The School of Hard Knocks

The School of Hard Knocks

In 2017 and 2018, GasTerra provided funds to enable the School of Hard Knocks (de Harde Leerschool) project to be launched in East Groningen. This project uses rugby training as a method to encourage underprivileged young adults, who are finding it hard to get work, to take a different approach to dealing with authority, long-term unemployment and crime.

Participants follow the programme for a period of around two months. In addition to rugby training sessions, they attend various modules every day covering work skills, life orientation, resilience and social skills, rounded off with mental coaching. The ultimate aim is to get participants into work. Rugby is an ideal sport for this venture, with its key features of mental resilience and the creation of mutual respect both within the team and towards opponents. There were positive results from the projects in 2017 and 2018: many of the participants either returned to education or found a job.

 

Team with in the middle coach Dirk Danen

Team with in the middle coach Dirk Danen

In the rugby programme the young adults are coached by trainers Job Volker and Dirk Danen. Dirk Danen is a top rugby player and plays at a high level. He knows the rules and restrictions of the sport like no other. His sporty lifestyle makes him a perfect role model to motivate and inspire young people to improve themselves. Job Volker played rugby at a high level previously and has, since then, gained many years of experience as a rugby coach. He is currently the head coach for Amstelveen Rugby Club. Through his experience he knows the best way to work with young people to realise their full potential.