The HITZ programme, organised by children’s charity Wooden Spoon, encourages young people to play sport and learn the skills needed to gain employment.
Barclays is making an initial £45,500 investment in the project, enabling 250 disadvantaged youngsters from Bath and Bristol’s inner-city estates to take part in a unique, 30-week training course.
Participants, aged between 11 and 19, will learn about the workplace through placements and volunteering opportunities.
They will also attend Barclays Money Skills workshops on financial management, as well as courses on career development, CV writing, and literacy, numeracy and IT skills.
At the same time, Wooden Spoon will work with YMCA Training and Bath Rugby to introduce the young people – often for the first time – to tag, touch and contact rugby.
HITZ aims to have helped at least 40 participants get back into education, employment or training by the end of the first year.
David Wheldon, Managing Director, Brand & Marketing and Citizenship, Barclays, said: “Barclays plays a broader role in the communities in which we live and work, beyond what we deliver through our core business activities. We do this through community investment programmes and the direct efforts of our employees.
“By empowering young people with appropriate skills we can help them achieve economic independence and security now and in the future.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Wooden Spoon on this unique programme which brings together the independent interests and expertise of each organisation to do just that.”
Bill Hill, CEO of Wooden Spoon, added: “Our HITZ programme is aimed at some of the hardest to reach and most disaffected youth in our society.
“Our aim is to engage these individuals in the sport of rugby, assist them to gain educational qualifications and help them seek employment or re-enter mainstream education so that they can raise their aspiration and contribution to society.”
Barclays Spaces for Sports forms part of the Barclays Citizenship strategy.
It uses sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues by helping young people develop a range of life skills.