Harlequins apprentice nominated for top prize at the 2018 HITZ Awards

Tuesday, 25th September 2018 @ 15:00

Inspirational Natalie Sexton nominated for the HITZ Rugby Ambassador award, supported by Land Rover.

Natalie, the first apprentice Harlequins have ever recruited from the HITZ, will attend this year’s glittering HITZ Awards at the BT Centre on Wednesday 17th October where participants, mentors and rugby stars past and present will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements.

The award Natalie has been nominated for is the HITZ Academic Achiever award, supported by Premiership Rugby, recognising the pathway a learner has taken since joining the programme and how far they have travelled during the programme.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, with the help of its funders Land Rover, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief, works with more than 2,000 14-18 year olds across England every year, and is delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs.

Having not enjoyed her time in mainstream education and having to cope with a number of complications and challenges presented by her home life, Natalie joined HITZ with no qualifications.

HITZ gave her the help she needed to drive her academic work, while it also provided an outlet for her to share her feelings and concerns which meant that she no longer had to hold this all in, whilst also enabling her to use this experience to help others on the programme.

Natalie overcame her learning needs as well as a tumultuous few years in her family to pass the course and then get recruited by Quins.

The hard task of whittling down the nominees to a final three fell to a group of judges, with Natalie, Exeter Chiefs’ Aidan Seal and Bethany Saunders of Gloucester Rugby getting the nod.

Wayne Morris, Premiership Rugby Community and CSR Director, said: “The judges and I were really impressed by each of the nominees – reading them really did bring home the power of the programme to change lives, and also highlights the dedication and commitment of our HITZ teams in supporting these young people to achieve such fantastic things.

“It was very tough afternoon’s judging! In some ways it’s a good problem to have, but it does make the shortlisting process very challenging. However, each of our expert judges rose to the occasion, carefully considering each application and challenging each other to do a great job!

“Their commitment really reflects the invaluable input of our partners into HITZ, without whom the programme wouldn’t be possible.”

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