"My Journey at The Harlequins Foundation" Natalie Sexton for National Apprenticeship Week.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week our fantastic Foundation Apprentice, Natalie Sexton, has written about her journey as an apprentice at The Harlequins Foundation. 

In 2017 when I started on the HITZ programme, I had a part time job as a youth worker, but I wanted to do something more. Once I spoke to Matt, one of the tutors at The Harlequins Foundation, I decided to join HITZ.

I had been struggling a lot with depression and anxiety but signing up to HITZ helped me manage the way I think by knowing that people were there to talk and open up to about depression and finding ways to manage it. If you had a bad day, you knew when you came in it would be a relief as people were there to listen.

HITZ also gave me the help I needed to drive my academic work while it also provided me an outlet where I would express my feelings and concerns. I didn’t really do well in school, and didn’t get the GCSEs that I wanted, spending lots of time in exclusion which I’m not proud of, but I changed it around when I came to Harlequins.

As part of the HITZ programme I completed my Level 2 Award in Sport, getting a distinction in most of my work thanks to the support of Matt, my tutor, and the rest of the staff on the programme. The Harlequins Foundation offered me an apprenticeship after completing HITZ, where I have been able to gain Maths and English qualifications, and a Level 2 Rugby Coaching qualification.

If it wasn’t for the HITZ programme, I don’t know where I would be today. They have helped me become the person I am today. I didn’t have any belief in myself, but HITZ has made me believe that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it

I couldn’t thank The Harlequins Foundation enough for giving me these opportunities, helping me know what I want to do in life and giving me so many different options. I now know where I want to be, making a change to the lives of young people, getting more people to open up about mental health and to give back to HITZ programme which has given me so much.

If you want to help support the work of the HITZ programme, where just £2 a week can help provide food for one of our learners, then follow the button below to donate.