16- to 18-year-olds that are currently not in employment, education or training have been learning the skills of boxing in six-week projects taking place in Basildon and Colchester.
Ten participants have now successfully completed the course in Basildon and Colchester and gained certificates in a British Amateur Boxing Association-accredited boxing tutor qualification, enabling them to teach boxing themselves.
Essex Boys and Girls Clubs (EBGC) and Essex County Council have put together the project to increase motivation, self confidence and general fitness for 16- to 18-year-olds. All participants have been receiving fully-funded coaching from some of the top boxing coaches in Essex as well as an opportunity to gain a coaching qualification worth £100 and meet current and past boxing champions.
Alongside the boxing coaching, participants have been supported with job hunting, CV writing and interview skills by Essex County Council advisors, helping the young people to focus on their futures and preparing them for work. Already several participants have moved onto an apprenticeship or secured interviews for training or employment.
Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for Education and 2012 Games has welcomed the news saying: “I wholeheartedly congratulate the ten young people who have proved to themselves and those around them that they have the talent, confidence and the motivation to achieve great things! Essex County Council is determined to help young people across the county to get into work and I would encourage others in similar situations to get involved in this innovative project.”
The Essex Boxing Development Officer leading the programme, Af Panjalizadeh said: “It is really rewarding to see the young people gain their certificates and move on to employment or training. Throughout the course, young people’s confidence and motivation has visibly increased and they are welcoming the support into future opportunities.
"These are all young people that would still be out of education, employment and training without this programme and who may not have had the confidence to progress on to further opportunities without this help. Now that word is spreading the young people are telling their friends and getting new people involved. The hardest part of the project is the first initial step into the boxing gyms as it can be quite nerve-wracking but I can assure you that everyone we have walk through the doors does not regret it and walks out a changed person.”
Essex County Council and EBGC are keen to support more young people through continuing programmes. To keep up to date and to join a course, text 07927 886478 or visit the programme’s Facebook page.