Derby County stars discuss equality at local school
Ahead of their dedicated game this weekend, Derby County players Thomas Ince and Jake Buxton helped deliver an educational workshop at Merrill Academy alongside Rishi Jain, Kick It Out’s Football League Clubs Development Officer.
Rishi challenged the young people to think about what Kick It Out’s key messages of equality and inclusion mean, and how they can be applied at school or on the football pitch. The 30 pupils broke into small groups and discussed what racism and discrimination means, with the input of the players.
Michael Davie, Headteacher at Merrill Academy said: “Equality is at the forefront of what we do here.
“For the students to meet role models is fantastic and it helps build on our links with the local teams in the area, helping the students to become involved in sport at that level and seeing how it affects the lives of others is great.”
Thomas and Jake participated in a Question and Answer session where they spoke about their backgrounds and their form so far this season. They also offered advice to the young people, reminding them that although some of them may want to be footballers, it was just as important to continue to do their best at school.
Jake said: “The work that Kick It Out do is a big issue and what better place to start than local schools where young people look up to role models…. we are here to try and reinforce these key messages.
“Young people respond well to this message. Its small strides but we are making a difference. I think days like this where young people meet role models is great. The teachers are unbelievable but when they’re inspired by footballers or someone they look up to it helps them a little bit more.
“I learned a lot from today. It was a very good workshop and I’ll be taking some of it back with me too.”
Thomas said: ‘’Each generation has to improve the life they’re in, and it’s up to role models like us as footballers to conduct ourselves the best way we can on and off the pitch.
“When young people have role models and meet them it’s fantastic for them and for us. To get the opportunity to share knowledge and advice is great, because the teachers are great, but coming from someone they may have enjoyed watching is fantastic.”
Ince also addressed the incident from Serbia in 2012, where he was a victim of abuse: “The game needed to move on. The scenes that I experienced were crazy and in a funny way it’s an experience that I learned from and it was a big key lesson for me in life. Moving on now, I think it’s got 10 times better, with more severe punishments and that’s the right thing to do.”
Derby County’s game this weekend against Wolverhampton Wanderers is one of five across the Football League to be dedicated to Kick It Out’s work.