A SOCIAL initiative to get Clacks people back into work by learning personal development through rugby concluded earlier this month.

School of Hard Knocks is a social inclusion charity which ran a free course for unemployed Wee County people at Alloa Rugby Club.

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

It concluded on Sunday, November 7 with course participants playing rugby against local male and female rugby players.

Nicky Wilson, trustee of Coalfields Regeneration Trust who supported the project, said it was great to see the impact the course has had.

Nicky said: “CRT were delighted to fund and support the SoHK programme delivered over the last 8 weeks at Alloa RFC and see the impact the course has had to participants health and well-being, confidence and camaraderie as a group.

“We hope the skills sets, qualifications and practical experience each person has gained and built upon will provide a solid foundation for their future.

“As an organisation we want to see real change for former coalfield communities, many of which are some of the most disadvantaged in the country.

"CRT Sports works and employability programmes like SoHK will only support this aim and vision.”

As part of the course’s final week, participants travelled to Edinburgh for a mock interview with Ultimate Finance.

The exercise was a huge success as all participants were given detailed feedback and given a great confidence boost after all the work they have done over the last eight weeks.

On the final day participants’ families attended the rugby match to round off the eight week programme.

School of Hard Knocks’ Kari Spence added: “It has been great delivering our adults course through in Alloa over the last eight weeks.

“Each of the participants gave 100 per cent into the course and it has been wonderful to see their confidence and self belief grow over the weeks.

“As seen on the rugby pitch during the end of course game the participants have all come together as a team, and supported each other all the way through.

“Each participant has stepped out their comfort zone, pushed themselves in all practical and fitness sessions and engaged fully in our employability workshops, all leaving with a positive next step.

“[A] huge thanks to CRT for funding and allowing us to be able to deliver this programme in Alloa.”

Visit schoolofhardknocks.org.uk/ to learn more about the charity.