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The programme costs £6,500 per student, but has a 124 per cent return on investment by year three


include further study, setting up their own business, doing voluntary sector work and working within another sporting organisation.


FINDING THE RIGHT YOUNG PEOPLE One of the challenges of the project is finding the young people who will benefit most from the scheme. To this end, TAG has partnered with Jobcentre Plus, which identifies suitable young NEETs. The team at TAG then carries out a rigorous interview process to identify the youngsters who are right for the scheme. “We’re looking for people who are


motivated to change their lives,” says Turok. “We’re also looking for people with some sort of stability in their lives, and someone – whether that’s a partner, a parent or a community leader – who’s prepared to support them. “We don’t take the very worst


offenders, we take the next level up. Most of the time they’re just disaffected young people with very little money, looking for some direction, guidance, leadership and opportunity. “Qualifi cations are a non-issue,


and we regularly take on students with criminal records.”


FUNDING So far, TAG has been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions’ Future Jobs Fund. However, the government announced in June that the Future Jobs Fund was going to be axed as part of cutbacks. “I’m not too worried,” says Turok. “My understanding


44


Alesha Dixon leads a class at LA Fitness, the chain that’s led the way in the TAG scheme


“The kids are so grateful to be given an opportunity that it makes one feel very humble”


is that, while the Future Jobs Fund is being terminated in April 2011, there will be a new scheme to take its place. There will be less money available, but the government has given a commitment that there will be enough funding to enable TAG to achieve its objectives. I’m confi dent that we’ll be able to continue the work we’re doing.” The cost of the programme is £6,500


per student, but Turok says the return on investment is 23 per cent in the fi rst year and 124 per cent by the third year. This is calculated based on the income tax paid by students in employment and on savings in benefi ts. “As well as this return on investment, the spin-off benefi ts include reduced gun crime, knife crime, drug crime and less claims on the Department of Health,” says Turok. The aims for TAG over the next


year are to achieve the target of 2,000 students in full-time education by April, to continue to grow the brand and to attract more partners. “We’ll continue to build on our relationships with our key partners, but I’m looking for new partners, and the opportunity is there for our industry to get involved,” says Turok. “For anyone who’s interested, I say, come and see us. Let’s talk.” The team is also working on


developing new models. A pilot is just fi nishing which will see TAG graduates


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teaching children during after-school clubs and in the school holidays, and the idea of getting graduates to run free exercise classes in their local parks is also being discussed. In the longer term, Turok would


like to see the TAG model rolled out to other industries. “This is not just about health and fi tness. We see TAG expanding into a variety of other sub sectors,” he explains. “The beauty of the TAG model is


that it could be replicated anywhere. We’re actually talking to the leisure sector, the retail sector and the hospitality sector at the moment.” Turok says he’s motivated by


making a difference, and he’s also clearly enjoying the work he does with TAG immensely. “I fi nd it very emotional seeing these young kids doing so well,” he says. “They are so grateful to be given an opportunity that it makes one feel very humble. “They come from deprived and


sometimes abusive backgrounds, they might be involved with drugs and crime and gangs. When they come to us they’re scared all of the time. Suddenly they have the opportunity to be a real part of society. It’s just fantastic to see.”


healthclub@leisuremedia.com magali robathan


october 2010 © cybertrek 2010


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