HITZ nominees

Date: 20 Nov 2017

A Coventry transgender teenager who has recovered from missed years of education due to bullies, says he wants others to know that it’s ok “to be different”.

Carter Moran, 19, from Bell Green missed the majority of his secondary school years after being bullied for having the condition Gender Dysphoria – where a person experiences discomfort due to a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.

He, along with two other teenagers from the city who have overcome adversity, have been shortlisted by Wasps at the HITZ Awards on Tuesday, November 21 at the BT Centre in London.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s education and employability programme, which works with more than 2,000 disadvantaged 14 to 19-year-olds across England every year, and is delivered by rugby clubs such as Wasps at a regional level.

Carter has been shortlisted by Wasps for the HITZ Young Ambassador of the Year after joining the programme in February 2016. He has gained level one Maths and English qualifications, and also has a level one qualification in sport coaching.

He said: “I knew ever since I was seven-years-old that I wanted to be a boy, but didn’t make the change until last year.

“The HITZ programme has been amazing for me. It’s allowed me to receive education in a relaxed atmosphere where you aren’t judged. I now have qualifications and I am looking to go on a tattoo course with the aim of becoming a tattoo artist.

“I’m determined to show other people like me that it is ok to be different, and I am proof that if you don’t let your identity hold you back, then you can achieve what you want to achieve in any walk of life.”

Stanna Shaylor, 19, from Earlsdon is another person who has transformed her life via the programme, and has been shortlisted for the HITZ Community Impact award.

Before she joined HITZ she suffered from mood swings that resulted in a criminal conviction following an altercation, and left secondary school with no qualifications above a grade D.

Stanna now has a full-time job working in hospitality at the Ricoh Arena after impressing on the HITZ programme where she secured Maths, English and first aid qualifications while doing various community volunteering.

Jason Kitchin, 18, moved to Shilton from Northampton last year. Jason has ADHD and ASD and was expelled from secondary school, and soon became depressed after his mother was diagnosed with cancer.

Since joining the HITZ programme last year, Jason has achieved level two qualifications in Maths and English, and has been accepted on to the Prince’s Trust programme as he aims to become a youth worker in the future.

Anthony O’Reilly has been delivering the 24-week HITZ programme on behalf of Wasps to up to 15 students a week that are not currently in education, employment or training.

He said: “These three students should be incredibly proud of overcoming the obstacles they have, to get where they are today.

“The students have managed to get a broad range of volunteering experiences to prepare them for the world of work and explore what interests them the most.

“This includes working on events such as conferences at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps match days and Engage! Coventry tag rugby festivals, through to completing courses relating to managing money.”

For more information about the @HITZRugby programme, visit www.wasps.co.uk/community