16 current and former players set to graduate from BALM degree


With the 2015/16 season now in full swing, the latest cohort of RPA members are set to graduate from the BA (Hons) Leadership and Management degree (BALM) at Northumbria University, through engaging in our Personal Development Programme (PDP).

The 16 current and former players due to graduate in December include Ben Mosses, Louis Grimoldby, Charlie Sharples, Shaun Ruwers, Ross Chisholm, Luke Eves, Lee Mears, Callum Braley, Mark Atkinson, Chris Cook, Alex Rodgers, Will Bordill, Olly Morgan, Tommy Bell, Will Welch and Joe Ford.

Set up in 2012 with help from RPA Personal Development Manager for Newcastle Falcons, Yorkshire Carnegie EAP and Alumni North, Mandy Thompson, the fully distance learning degree with regional study support sessions for our members is designed to match a professional rugby player’s needs and provide an opportunity for members to study around their rugby careers.

Since then the degree has developed at a significant pace with the 16 players joining 23 current other RPA members who have graduated since the course’s inception. With the RPA cohort running two groups each year (September and January), 2015 will stand out as a remarkable year with over 24 graduates.

RPA Player Representative for Gloucester Rugby, Charlie Sharples, recently spoke to the RPA after completing the degree and said:

“It’s an awesome feeling and definitely a weight off my shoulders. It’s great knowing that I have managed to finish the degree, and gain a qualification whilst still playing rugby.

“I found all the subject content really interesting, in particular learning more about leadership and the different forms it can come across.

“The course is definitely something I would highly recommend to any RPA member, and the great thing is that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can start the degree at any point in your career.”

Another RPA member who found the degree extremely beneficial was Newcastle Falcons’ captain, Will Welch.

The 25-year-old who took over the Falcons’ captaincy at the age of 22, praised the leadership aspect of the degree and spoke of how his own position at Newcastle has improved since embarking on the course.

“I absolutely loved it and for someone who hasn’t studied since school and was completely consumed by rugby, this course was a terrific and flexible new goal for me to work towards.

“In particular as Newcastle’s club captain, I found all the leadership features very valuable and allowed me to better understand my role within the team and how I can inspire the best out of my teammates.

“Every aspect of the degree was relevant to our roles as professional rugby players, but also our position in society and how we can best prepare for a career after the sport.

“If any RPA members are looking for a degree that is literally designed for rugby players then this is the one for you. All the staff at Northumbria University are extremely supportive and the flexibility of the degree not only allows you to study around your rugby career but also helps you put plans in place for the future.”

Ahead of our next round of graduates in December we’re now taking applications for January 2016. If you are interested please contact Mandy Thompson on 07889 601 709 or mthompson@theRPA.co.uk or alternatively apply here: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/sd/academic/nbs/lfsm/

For more information on the BALM degree or any other opportunities please contact your RPA Personal Development Manager (PDM).