At 16 Ben Bradley was faced with dropping out of a college course that did not suit him and wondering what his future held.

Now 21, he is a graduate of Bath Rugby Foundation’s HITZ Learning Academy and is looking ahead at a very bright future.

Ben, who now works in Bath cocktail bar, Circo said: “Coming to HITZ and getting involved with Bath Rugby Foundation definitely changed my life.

“I had just dropped out of college. I wasn’t getting on with it at all because I suffer with severe ADHD. (College) wasn’t for me – I can’t handle sitting still; I can’t stand being stuck in a room.”

“Going to HITZ helped me see a side of myself that I didn’t know was there.

“It has made me the person I am today. I have made some really great friends through HITZ.”

"It's not just rugby"

Ben said he enjoyed the unpredictable nature of attending the HITZ course, which is vastly different from previous experience of classroom-based learning.

“You don’t really know what you are going to do,” he said. “It is not just rugby. You could be playing basketball, you could be swimming. The classroom is next to the sports centre so you could go in there.

Ben is now using the confidence and communication skills he developed while on the HITZ programme in his career in the hospitality industry as a bartender at Circo (which he described as “good fun and good pay!”)

Recently Ben returned to the Foundation’s HQ at the Rec to speak to the new cohort of HITZ students.

“Take me back to when I was 16, I would never have been able to stand in front of a group of people like that,” he said. “Never in a million years.”

“I would not have had the confidence. When I got into HITZ they helped me with me social interactions.

“Now, the industry I’m in requires me to talk to a lot of people in different ways. I couldn’t have done that before.”

"It will be the best thing you have ever done"

Where would Ben have been if he had never learned about the HITZ programme?

“I would probably still be sat at home playing with my Xbox,” he said.

What advice would Ben give to a teenager considering the HITZ Learning Academy as their next step?

“It’s not even a question. Don’t think about it – just go for it.

“It will be the best thing you have ever done.”

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