Updated: Sunday, 19th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Two Sale Sharks volunteers up for HITZ awards as power of programme 'hits home'

Two Sale Sharks volunteers up for HITZ awards as power of programme 'hits home'

| By Luke Madeira

Two inspiring individuals from Sale Sharks will have their commitment and hard work celebrated after being nominated for prizes at this year’s HITZ Awards.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme, which works with over 2,000 disadvantaged 14-19 year-olds across England every year.

There are five gongs on offer during the evening, with members of the HITZ programme at Sale Sharks nominated in two categories.

The HITZ Champion award, supported by Comic Relief, recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to support HITZ participants to overcome personal barriers, with Sale Sharks’ Aaron Phelps Naqi one of three finalists.

Aaron has been a member of the Sale Sharks Community Trust team delivering at HITZ Salford since 2015 and during the past 12 months has helped 46 learners complete qualifications or a work placement and improve their life skills, with 80 per cent going on to a positive progression.

Meanwhile, Odin Quinn is up for the HITZ Young Ambassador award, the prize rewarding an individual who has done the most to represent the HITZ programme to their peers and in their communities, identifying someone who has grown and changed for the better, and whose positive attitude has made an impact on those involved in and the programme.

Odin joined the HITZ programme at Sale Sharks when he was 20 in September 2016 with learning difficulties and a severe lack of confidence.

He was rejected by a local college and felt as though he had no viable options, until he joined the HITZ programme as he has gone on to upskill himself, completing a work placement at Moorgate Catering and gaining confidence and new skills.

Wayne Morris, Premiership Rugby Community and CSR Director, said: “The judges and I were mightily impressed by each of the nominees – reading them really did bring home the power of the programme to change lives, and also highlights the dedication and commitment of our HITZ teams in supporting these young people to achieve such fantastic things.

“The HITZ programme has really gone from strength-to-strength, which is very obvious in the quality of these nominations alone,”

“What struck me the most is the breadth of backgrounds and experiences of the young people on the programme, as well as the barriers they’ve overcome to participate.”

“We are delighted that HITZ is having such an impact on the lives of young people right across the country.”

This year’s glittering HITZ Awards will take place at the BT Centre on Tuesday 21 November where participants, mentors and rugby stars past and present will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements.

Follow all the action at @HITZRugby