Fighting for opportunities

The School of Hard Knocks project (De Harde Leerschool) prepares young people at a distance from the labour market to take forward steps into the world of employment – using challenging games of rugby rather than stacks of textbooks.

Rugby is a game of hard knocks. However, this sport is also about respect, team work and the ability to fend for oneself, values that former rugby player Yves Kummer feels are just what these young people need when looking for a job. That is why rugby plays a pivotal role in the teaching and training programme of the School of Hard Knocks (De Harde Leerschool) that Kummer founded in 2015.


The School of Hard Knocks takes the participants through an intensive eight-week training programme, centred around rugby. Besides sports performance, the activities teach the participants coping skills, social skills, team spirit and job interview skills. This enables them to confront their fears, debts, low self-esteem, and social exclusion.

Hard Knocks

‘De Harde Leerschool’ has an alliance with the School of Hard Knocks in the United Kingdom, where over a thousand disadvantaged young people have completed the programme in the past seven years. Seventy per cent of them have since enrolled in school or found employment.

New heroes

The successful programme in the United Kingdom demonstrates how discipline and the values of rugby help young, disengaged people to grab job opportunities. By using rugby in an ingenious way as the pivot of a versatile programme, the School of Hard Knocks is able to create new heroes in the fields.



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