Sharks have "neet" way of attacking employability skills - Kloodle

Imagine you’re a sixteen-year-old sitting in class and Jason Robinson, the former England Rugby star, casually strolls in to give you an inspirational talk on what he believes are the skills needed in life. You’d pay attention, right? Especially as the opportunity for limitless selfies with the World Cup winner awaits.

Well, this is exactly the sort of interaction attendees of the Sale Sharks Advantage Programme can expect. 

The programme forms part of the elite rugby club’s commitment to the community around the North West with The Sharks levering a fantastic brand as the only club in the region to play in the Premiership. And, as a refreshing change to the excesses of glamour and money of their local football cousins, the sport of rugby brings its own set of values, such as teamwork, respect, discipline and sportsmanship. 

The two-year-long course has been designed to bridge the gap between education and the workplace by providing a number of young people, who have left school with little or no qualifications, or confidence, with the skills and experiences required to thrive in life. There is the stamp of approval of a level 2 qualification in employability at the end of it, as well as practical English and Maths ‘functional’ skills and highly-valued work experience. Over this period they will have time to think about what sector they might want to go into.


Apart from the glitz of being linked to famous professional sports club, the course might appear on the face of it similar to a number of other employability courses out there. However, the real differentiator here is the staff. All of them are hugely invested in helping the young people succeed and the passion and care is there to see. Also, small class sizes means the tutors get to know the students well; this incredible pastoral support builds the trust and buy-in of the students.


Prior to this year, the leaders weaved a thread of “skills” through the course by linking to each learning opportunity. However, now Manchester Council’s Skills for Life model has been adopted and this has improved how this aspect of the course is delivered. Tutors have a consistent, well-established, tried-and-tested framework and vocabulary to help young people identify the skills they are developing as part of the training. This language is now integral to the planning, questioning and delivery and builds understanding and self-awareness. The confidence of learners is boosted as they appreciate how to develop the skills they possess and how they apply to the workplace. 

It’s more than just…..

Sale Sharks Advantage are adopting Skills for Life’s “It’s more than just…..” campaign. The campaign’s focus is to demonstrate to young people that the activities they undertake in their daily lives are building vital “Skills for Life”.

Natalie Dodd, the campaign’s creator, says “Young people undertake a plethora of activities, yet probably don’t realise that each time they participate, they are building skills for life. We developed Skills for Life as a result of young people’s vote in the “Make Your Mark” campaign. They told us they feel their education does not prepare them for adult life. We wanted to highlight how they are building these skills, and use the vocabulary as a “golden thread” throughout Manchester’s youth provision (the activities young people can participate in), to highlight the development of these skills. Kloodle enables them to capture these skills and reinforces their importance”.

You can view the campaign’s brochure below.


Where does Kloodle fit in? 

Well, remember those selfies with the rugby legend we mentioned earlier; they, along with other photos and documents, can be uploaded through the App to the Kloodle profile to act as evidence of the ‘skills for life’ that the 16-to-18-year-old students are learning. How much fun is that?

Kloodle plays a vital role in the skills’ development, as young people record and reflect on their activities on their own personal profile, tagging in the relevant skills they are honing. For example, a recent class task of “building a tower challenge” enabled students to demonstrate ‘teamwork’ and ‘leadership’; by identifying these aptitudes the individual can grow their skills wheel. Reflection is a very powerful component of the process as students think about which skills they are developing. Writing about it helps, for example, they make diary entries about the regular meetings they have with their “One Million Mentors” mentor

This process enables course leaders to discuss the skills with young people, as well as reinforce the development that is taking place through awards and endorsements

Head of Education at Sharks Community Trust, Des Howlett, said  “We have been thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Natalie and Phillip with Skills for Life on the Kloodle portal and to add something new to our Advantage employability programme.  Our young people have varied and interesting backgrounds and the big challenge is to help them to identify their own skills and use them to prepare themselves for the wider world of work and training.  Skills for Life supports this part of our programme and the tutors hugely as it allows the young people to record and reflect on their activities on their own personal profile, thinking about the skills they are using as they go along.  The Kloodle portal is wonderfully easy to use and really adds value to the process.  It has been great watching the young people start to celebrate their skills and work hard to build new ones.’


Advantage Benchill Learner, Laurent Biinebyona, said about his Skills for Life profile on Kloodle “I love looking at my kloodle profile as I can see how I am improving old skills and building up new ones.  I really want to have my own business and Skills for Life is helping to give me the confidence to know that I have the skills I need.’

Neil Wolstenholme

About Neil Wolstenholme

Chairman of Kloodle

Leave a Reply