‘Inclusion Through Angling’ (ITA), is an exciting, new educational provision based in Cardiff. On 6th December 2008, ITA successfully presented eight students from Willows High School, with two nationally recognised qualifications.

1. Angling Trust N-OCN Introduction to Angling and the Environment

2. Sports Leaders UK Level One award in sports leadership.

The organisation is located at Cefn Mably Lakes, near Cardiff. Cefn Mably is Wales’ premier coarse fishery that boasts six coarse lakes and two Trout lakes.

ITA is the brainchild of Luke Richards. Luke is an experienced Level 2 angling coach and a fully qualified Youth worker who specialises in education. Luke developed ITA to re-engage young people with education and learning. ITA does this by creating a learning environment appropriate to the needs and wants of young people who find it difficult to access education through a mainstream environment.

The pupils who accessed the recent pilot project took to angling like a fish to water, and successfully learnt key curriculum subjects such as Science, Geography, Maths and English. Fishery owner John Jones invested in a purpose built classroom enabling Luke to deliver the theory and planning sessions required as part of the wide range of courses available through ITA.

As the course progressed both Luke and fellow Level 2 angling coach Bob Mitchell, could see the pupils become calmer, more self disciplined and more organized. They were also less confrontational, aggressive and became more self-respecting individuals who were all well and truly hooked on fishing.

Following the initial success of the first set of candidates that have progressed through the scheme, ‘Inclusion Through Angling’ will be rolling out the ‘Introduction to Angling and the Environment’, Sports Leaders Awards and other Nationally recognised qualifications to schools across Cardiff and its surrounding boroughs in early 2009.

Fishery owners John and Owen Jones have supported Luke throughout and are delighted to be involved with such a worth while project, commenting, “We are delighted with the attitude of the youngsters and the success of the programme. Luke can only go from strength to strength with ‘Inclusion Through Angling’; the only problem he is going to have is coping with demand!”

Luke Richards himself added, “As a Professional Youth-worker and having worked in secondary schools with challenging young people for a number of years, I know that the benefits of angling are undeniable and can provide real benefits to the schools that deliver the sport. The pupils who have undertaken the course have a direct route of progression. Having achieved the Angling Trust’s N-OCN qualification and Sports Leaders Award, with continued commitment can advance even further by becoming fully qualified Level 1 and Level 2 angling coaches.”

Steve Davies, Deputy Head, Willow High School has directly seen the benefit to his students commented, “Inclusion Through Angling has allowed pupils to achieve success who might never have done so in school. Some of these pupils have learnt more and produced more work in 5 months than they have in over 3 years. I look forward to this being rolled out across the city so that many more young people can benefit from such an excellent project.”

Brian Hull, Angling Education Officer added, “As a deputy head teacher myself the benefits of students taking part in angling are enormous. Luke has done a great job in Wales, and the project ‘Inclusion Through Angling’, looks set to go from strength to strength.”