Aspire to Learn have the pleasure to work with many businesses and local community groups. For example, in 2019, we hosted one of the first local community Apprentice Fairs in partnership with Eton Manor Rugby club.
In celebrating International Women’s Day, we thought we would share a story of how a group of women from a small East London club is #breakingthebias and proving that Rugby is a game for everyone of any gender, age and background.
Eight years prior, the girl’s team consisted of a few sisters and their friends hanging about while their brothers trained. It now boasts over 80 girls aged 11-18.
In 2019 the first ‘graduates’ of the girls’ section found themselves with no women’s team to play for, but rather than give in, these young women of Eton Manor embraced the RFU’s ‘Inner Warrior’ campaign. Led by Jackie Clune, Actress and Director of Women’s Rugby, they broke the bias by recruiting mums, older sisters and newcomers to form the first women’s side at the club for twenty years. The women’s team ages range from 18, with the oldest warrior being 53.
Just as the women’s team were about to take flight and #BreakTheBias in Barcelona and enter League rugby, Covid 19 delayed training and recruitment. Yet, it’s not just on the pitch that you build a team – the social buy-in is just as important. So, the team stayed in touch, with many getting involved in community projects for the homeless, such as hosting Eton Manor drive-through days for community members to donate for food parcels and clothing projects.
Both teams are thriving with the women’s team number 1 in their league and a high percentage of 11-18’s in Essex County Rugby. Highlights of the first season back from Covid include Simbi, the top try scorer in the league to date and the Under 15’s reaching the quarter-finals in the National League.
Whilst one might not usually liken Rugby to Apprenticeships; direct comparisons are these; you can play Rugby or be an Apprentice at any age, be of gender and from any culture or background, and if you really want to #BreaktheBias, you can always do both.
07 Mar 2022