Over the past few months Ryan Mason has emerged as a model HITZ participant, dedicated to learning, keen to help his peers and with a clear idea of the direction he wants his life to take. 

However, this was not the case 12 months ago.

Ryan joined the HITZ programme following his exclusion from college.

He had been disengaged with education the past few years, plagued with consistent behavioural and drug-related issues.

When he was excluded from college, Ryan’s apprenticeship plan was also in ruins, as it was attached to the course.

His first year at HITZ did not go to plan as his relationship with education had impacted on his outlook. He said: “I didn’t get on with teachers and I got distracted far too easily. I didn’t like school and that’s what I thought this was going to be like.”

Ryan failed his first year as he decided just a few days before the course ended that he would prefer to leave and find a job. He ended up unemployed and out of education, sat at home doing nothing.

He said: “After a month I realised I needed to do something. I had started going out and getting into trouble, messing around and getting into fights.”

However, Bath Rugby Foundation staff had already seen Ryan’s potential and refused to give up.

He said: “They rang me up and said ‘come back, we can help you’.

“I’d failed to get a job and realised I needed to do this.”

Ryan returned with a different outlook and is now an official HITZ Captain, he is positive, motivating, friendly, caring and hardworking, supporting other students on a daily basis and leading by example.

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He has gone the extra mile by completing extra hours helping at HITZ, volunteering with Bath Rugby Foundation’s BOOST project and Walcott Warriors. Now an official HITZ Captain, he is positive, motivating, friendly, caring and hardworking, supporting other students on a daily basis and leading by example.

For Ryan, the key is changing his outlook was sport. “I just turned up and wanted to do sport.”

HITZ coaches and tutors were able to use sport as a tool in Ryan’s development. The values, of sport – particularly teamwork and leadership – were already in Ryan’s arsenal and were developed off the rugby field, in the classroom and in Ryan’s role in his peer-group.

“I actually feel like I’m doing something with my life now.”

Ryan was on the verge of heading in a dangerous direction – out of education, out of work and finding himself in trouble. Now he is a model HITZ participant with a career plan to head into coaching.

He said: "HITZ has changed my life. I got kicked out of college and HITZ helped me out.

“I enjoy coming here every day and coming here helps me keep out of trouble. I am so much more confident now I have been at HITZ for six months and I couldn't be happier."

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