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Sale Sharks and CorpAcq team up on new programme to tackle youth unemployment

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(L-R) Jon Dorsett, Simon Orange, Jake Burgess, Bradley Jones, Jason Moffett, Christopher Stewart, David Martin, Neil Briggs (kneeling) and Stacy Partridge

The Sale Sharks Community Trust has joined forces with leading investment group CorpAcq to launch a new community programme designed to help tackle some of the problems faced by young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The ground-breaking Advantage Project, run by the charitable arm of Sale Sharks and funded by Altrincham-based CorpAcq, is designed to support young people aged between 16 and 18 years old get into work or education.

Initially launched in Wythenshawe, in Manchester, it is hoped the programme will eventually work with young people right across Greater Manchester and the North West.

CorpAcq agreed to support Advantage because founder – and Sale Sharks co-owner – Simon Orange, CEO David Martin and Director Jon Dorsett grew up in Wythenshawe and were eager to support the regeneration of the area.

Jonny Acheson, the Executive Director of the Sale Sharks Community Trust, said: “We’re very excited to launch the Advantage programme, which we hope will make a real difference for hundreds of young people in Wythenshawe and beyond.

“Mainstream education doesn’t work for all young people and by offering this alternative learning solution, we can show that previously disengaged young people can go on to achieve qualifications and progress to employment.

“The support of CorpAcq has been essential in setting up this new programme and, together, we are hoping to make a real difference in the Wythenshawe community.”

The programme was launched with a bang as Simon, the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester Eddy Newman and Sale Sharks’ Neil Briggs took part in a panel discussion at the Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre, in Wythenshawe.

The young participants on programme presented to the guests about their experiences in mainstream education, how the Advantage Project has helped them and about their future career plans.

Aspects of the programme that were highlighted by the young people included the life skills sessions, increased staff-to-learner ratio, and opportunities to do work placements and sports sessions.

This was followed by a Q&A with the panel, during which they shared their experiences of overcoming challenges in both education and their professional lives.

CorpAcq founder Simon Orange, along with a number of the firm’s board, grew up in Wythenshawe – and now he wants to make a difference in the area.

“I’m incredibly passionate about supporting Wythenshawe as much as I possibly can and this is a great opportunity for CorpAcq to team up with Sale Sharks to make a real and lasting impact on young people’s lives,” he said.

“I know from first-hand experience that growing up here brings with it certain challenges and I’m very grateful that I’m lucky enough to be able to give back and do my bit to help these brilliant young people.

“Having seen the enthusiasm and passion of the Trust coaches first hand – as well as the commitment of the young people – I have every confidence Advantage will be a huge success.”

Sale Sharks Chief Executive Jon Dorsett added: “Supporting our communities across Greater Manchester is something everyone at the club is genuinely passionate about.

“It’s a crucial part of our plans as a club and to make it an essential part of the north west communities that make us who we are.”

The sessions in Wythenshawe will all be run out of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group’s (WCHG), Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre, on Portway.

WCHG Executive Director of Housing, Jacque Allen, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Sale Sharks and CorpAcq to the Lifestyle Centre. The Advantage programme is a brilliant initiative and we think it will really benefit many of the young people in the Wythenshawe area.

“It’s also great to see a local company like CorpAcq, with such strong links to this community, working so hard to support the area and the work we are doing.”