The England Rugby legend will support unemployed 16 – 24 year olds via training and mentoring to help them gain employability skills through rugby

Jason Robinson OBE and former England Rugby international, has teamed up with O2 Think Big as part of a new initiative to help unemployed young people gain work experience and get their foot on the career ladder through rugby.

The programme will give 250 young people from across the country the opportunity to participate in an in-depth six week training and career mentoring programme. Delivered by Think Big and their rugby charity partners, Saracens Sports Foundation, Bath Rugby Foundation and School of Hard Knocks, the programme will culminate with the young people putting their new found skills into practice by managing a series of touch rugby events across the UK, as part of the O2 Touch Tour.

Jason Robinson will be supporting the training programme and sharing his expert knowledge of professional rugby both on and off the pitch. As part of his sessions, Jason will be providing insight into the core values of rugby and how rugby helped him overcome difficulties in his life, as well as helping aspiring coaches with key training tips and routines.

Following the training programme, each young person will be appointed a role, working closely with a professional counterpart to become a crucial member of the team running the O2 Touch Tour. The roles include everything from officials and events management, to marketing and sponsorship. The series of events will see the young people bringing together the leadership and team skills they have learnt throughout the six weeks, as well as gaining practical work experience.

The O2 Touch Tour forms part of O2’s on-going commitment to bring rugby fans closer to the action as it calls on the entire country to Wear the Rose and get behind the England Rugby Team, demonstrating the power of support through grassroots rugby. Starting in London on the 6th June, the tour will then travel to Loughborough on the 13th June and Bath on the 20th, before finishing in Manchester on the 11th July.

Jason Robinson OBE said: “Helping to give the next generation the same support and opportunity that was given to me is something that is very close to my heart. By working with Think Big we have the chance to reach unemployed young people all over the country, helping to train them in core skills that exist in rugby but are transferable into other career opportunities outside of the game.

“Rugby as a game is all about the discipline and commitment you put in, both on and off the pitch. The key thing with Think Big projects is that it doesn’t matter where you come from – schemes like this exist to provide young people with the opportunities to show what they can do.”

Tracey Herald, Head of Community at O2, said:

“Over the last 5 years, O2’s Think Big programme has given young people the chance to build their skills and confidence, and show them that with some drive and determination, and the right opportunity, they can unlock their talent and potential.

This year, we wanted to bring this passion for helping young people together with O2’s heritage in rugby. Through the O2 Touch Tour we hope to engage and inspire 250 young people to develop their self-confidence and gain practical work skills to improve their employability, demonstrating that rugby can be used as a powerful tool for positive social change.”

From today, young people aged between 16 and 24 can apply for the training programme through the GoThinkBig website (, by uploading their CV and submitting 100 words to support their application. In addition, Saracens Sports Foundation, Bath Rugby Foundation and School for Hard Knocks are also recruiting from within their local networks, such as Job Centre Plus. Applications close on 10th April for London, and 20th April for Loughborough, Bath and Manchester, and terms apply.  For full details visit

In 2014, Think Big helped over 400,000 young people through its varying programmes, with the young people involved coming from all different backgrounds. Many have gone on to develop their projects into more with O2, such as setting up their very own charities, national projects and social enterprises.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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