A SOCIAL initiative to get men back into work by learning personal development through rugby is coming to the Wee County this month.

School of Hard Knocks is a social inclusion charity which is running a free course for unemployed men from Clacks at the Alloa Rugby Club, beginning on August 24.

The course will take place every Tuesday and Wednesday for eight weeks, with transport paid for and two hot meals per day also included.

Rosanna Innes, School of Hard Knocks director of programmes, Scotland, said there are no restrictions on who can apply, as long as they are over the age of 18.

She said: "We do this across the UK and we do this with a group of around 20-25 adults – this particular course is for males – and we spend eight weeks with them.

"We spend half of the day playing rugby and the other half of the day working on personal development and employability skills.

"Most people who come along have never played rugby before but the idea is for them to come along, try a new sport, a team sport, so they get all the benefits through that.

"By the end of the course they will play a contact rugby game against a local side, so they start off as strangers who may never have played rugby before.

"Then, at the end, they play this match as a cohesive team so it's about everything that goes along with that."

School of Hard Knocks uses rugby as a vehicle for the participants to adapt skills from the sport into other aspects of their life.

Rosanna continued: "The idea is using controlled confrontation and everything that goes along with contact sports.

"For example, addressing fear on a pitch can help people address fear in other areas of their life [such as] interview skills.

"Rugby also has a strong value system: commitment, integrity and team work…and we think those are values that are really important for other areas of life like work or community."

Everyone on the course will also work towards two qualifications from Edinburgh College at SVQ level 4 so everyone will leave with a nationally recognised qualification.

Anyone who is interested in joining the course can contact Rosanna at rosa@schoolofhardknocks.org.uk or on 07825 918106 for more information.