13 Aug 2020

Back in 2014 with the generous support of Ageas the HKRU Community Foundation started an apprenticeship programme with their partners at Operation Breakthrough, offering 4 youngsters from at-risk backgrounds the opportunity of 12 months of paid employment.


The scheme was aimed at boys and girls with an interest in a sports career, but who were looking at a vocational rather than academic pathway, giving them an insight into what working in sports is like along with the chance to attend a range of training courses covering subjects such as coaching, refereeing, 1st aid, safeguarding and English.


In 2018 the Kadoorie Foundation came on board as a sponsor, which meant an additional 4 places could be offered each year to ethnic minority youngsters, and in 2020 the Foundation is delighted to announce a further apprentice position, thanks to a very generous donation from long-term friend of local rugby Alan Smith.  With Ageas recently extending their sponsorship, this will mean a total of 9 apprentices for the coming year.


“We are particularly delighted to be able to expand the apprentice programme at a time when the impact of Covid-19 has seen the jobless rate among those in their early 20s hit a record 13.4%, which equates to 27,600 young Hong Kongers,” explains HKRU CEO Robbie McRobbie.  “Over the 6 years we have been running this programme we have been able to provide an invaluable work experience to graduates of the Breakthrough charity, non-ethnic Chinese youngsters, a former prisoner and one of our Deaf Rugby players who has gone on to work for our Foundation as a full-time coach.  None of this would have been possible without our fantastic partners Ageas, the Kadoorie Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and now our old friend Alan Smith, who has made a very generous donation to mark his 50th year in Hong Kong.”


As Alan himself noted; “The transition from school to employment is always a big step, and I'm delighted to join with the HKRU Community Foundation in supporting their very successful apprenticeship programme in these difficult times".


This view is echoed by Gary Crist, CEO Asia of Ageas; “Ageas is proud to continue our relationship with the HKRU Community Foundation’s apprenticeship’s programme. We see the programme as instrumental in helping some incredible young people prepare for what can be a difficult transition into a meaningful career. The Foundation team have done a great job with a critical programme that has helped change people’s life’s for the better.”


Education is one of the three focus areas of the HKRU Community Foundation, along with health and inclusion, with a wide range of innovative programmes that use sport as a medium to tackle social issues – to find out more or make a donation to support the Foundation’s work, please click here


To apply for the additional apprenticeship position funded by Alan Smith, please contact [email protected]