|Objective of the project
||Our objective is to develop a HEI course to enhance the knowledge and skills of undergraduate sports students to enable them to
provide mentoring support for young males who are underachieving at school and so motivate them to stay at school and improve
their educational attainment/outcomes. The course will also instruct coaches on support for young men's mental and emotional
The aim of SSaMs is to assist in reducing early school leaving amongst boys and young men; young men are more likely to leave
education and training with at most lower secondary education. Across the EU the rate of early school leaving is considerably higher
amongst boys than girls in all member states [except Bulgaria] (EU, 2010; EU, 2016). On educational support there is ¿a shortage of
initiatives specifically targeted at boys¿ (EU, 2010). The project is in-line with the Europe 2020 strategy that sets out a target of
"reducing the share of early leavers of education and training to less than 10 % by 2020" (EU, 2010).
Mentoring is a well-established non-formal method of engaging young people to improve academic attainment. On addressing
youth unemployment, EC recommendations include enhancing support for non-formal education workers including those in
mentor roles (EC, 2014).
Sports students; sports personnel work with boys and young men on health and social concerns in schools and non-formal
education settings via professional sports clubs 'sport in the community' schemes (CTFC, 2011; CCFC, 2011). There is also evidence
of sports coaches working in a small number of schools as mentors assisting boys with their educational achievement (Eaude, T.
2008; Gulati & King, 2009; Beattie et al, 2014). However, whilst sports coaches are well placed to work with young males in terms of
male affiliation with sport and particularly work with hard-to-reach young males, a criticism of existing community sports coach
work is that sports coaches lack the knowledge and skills required to work effectively in supportive education, health, and social
contexts (Parnell et al, 2013).
Course content will be based on existing training materials developed for sports coaches to mentor young males provided by a UK
not-for-profit company working to improve boys' educational achievement (Mengage, 2015) (attached); the course content
intended to enhance students knowledge and skills will include:
1. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of the rationale for a gender-sensitive approach to helping young males achieve
their academic and/or vocational potential; gain an understanding of issues affecting young males: the consequences of poor
academic achievement: (i) reduced social mobility; (ii) poor health outcomes, and (iii) criminality.
2. Students will be trained as mentors, including: the role of mentor; personal qualities of a mentor (including developing mentor/
mentee relationships/boundaries); identifying mentee goals and outcomes; safeguarding and mentee personal disclosure; mental
and emotional health of young males; signposting to appropriate referral services; support and referral structures for effective
mentoring in the workplace; opportunities for practical use including income generation opportunities for sports organisations.
3. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of how a strengths-based and civic competence enhancing approach to
mentoring - Positive Youth Development methodology can improve academic achievement and continued participation of young
males in education, and routes to socially responsible adulthood/integration into civic life.
4. The course will include student placements with local schools and relevant informal education and other appropriate settings for
practical work experience, and the building of links between HEIs and local institutions.
The course may be delivered as:
(i) a stand-alone academic course to support placement/employability course options;
(ii) a number of supplementary delivery sessions running alongside