We spoke to Gloucester Rugby's Cameron Jordan following him winning the first Vodafone Business Gain Line Award of the season...
Congratulations Cameron, how does it feel to win the award?
It’s a great award to receive. My Development Manager Craig spoke to me a while ago and said he was going to put me up for it regarding the off-field efforts I’ve been doing. You never do these things for any kind of recognition, obviously, but it’s nice that Vodafone and the RPA are so supportive with this award that they offer so thank you!
It seems you are taking a huge interest in your personal development off the field – is there any reason for this?
I think, looking at the bigger picture, with everything that's gone on at Wasps and Worcester, you start to realise how quickly things can be taken away from you. You can go from hero to zero very quickly, and it's important to have a backup plan.
Then, more just in terms of life elements, one of my best friends Taylor Gough was in a car accident a few years ago and was heavily supported by the RPA. He was a rugby player and had his career taken away from him, he can no longer walk, but it really hits home the fact that the rugby can literally stop at any point. Our weeks and days in aren’t particularly long, they are physically strenuous, but in terms of doing stuff alongside that, it's not particularly difficult. It is very doable, so to be honest, I’ve just tried to complete one course or one form of education elsewhere per season. Since leaving school in 2018, I’ve been plugging away at it and I’ve picked up a few qualifications on the way.
You are doing a carpentry course currently, how are you finding that and what made you want to go down that route to begin with?
So, I bought my first property a few months ago and I'm renovating it and I realised very quickly that the more skills you have, the more money you are going to save yourself! Also, it’s nice just to feel useful and not feel like you’re requiring someone to do a small labourer's task and you can’t complete it yourself, and it’s an interest of mine. I like the idea of being able to use my hands to create things at the end of the day.
You’ve spoken about doing educational degrees, and one you’re doing now is a MA in Leadership in Sport, why have you done that?
As I’ve said, I've tried to complete a course of some kind every year since leaving school, so by now I’ve done my Level 3 personal training and my Level 2 coaching through the RPA, and obviously now I am doing the Masters alongside the carpentry. I’ve since used that coaching qualification I did to help coach two nights a week at a rugby club in Cheltenham, so that’s helped me to get that job.
Regarding the Masters, it was more just realising that more employers are looking for an official qualification, whether that be right or wrong, and whether you agree or disagree with it, it seems to be the state of play at the minute in the in the working world. So, I just feel like the more I can arm myself with these qualifications, the better I'm going to stand myself in when it comes to that position. As any rugby player knows, this isn’t football and we don’t earn the salaries they do, so you're going to have to get another job of some kind after your career.
How do you find the time to do all these activities/qualifications?
I've been stressed at points, especially with the house renovation I'm doing, that is taking up a significant amount of my time. But the RPA are helpful in terms of what they offer, so with my university degree that I'm doing, they offer on a full time or part time basis (full time students doing it a year, part time doing over two years to spread it out). I initially started the course with the idea of doing it across two years, because the amount of time it takes. However, I've managed to keep up doing a full-time pace and I'm on course to finish my dissertation by this January coming. I’ve done it much quicker than I thought I would have done!
But to be honest, I think it doesn’t require a lot of talent, you just have to give it a go and commit yourself to it. It’s all been about armouring myself with degrees and qualifications for later life and they will hopefully make me more employable when push comes to shove.
How important has your support network been to your journey including support from the RPA and your Development Manager Craig Townsend?
Craig has been extremely helpful to me. He knows I like to sink my teeth into most of what the RPA has to offer. I was taking him up on quite a few things so for example, I did the coaching qualification and the carpentry course through Craig, and my Masters in the last year. Plus, my previous Development Manager, Luke Cheyne, helped me with my personal training qualification.
But Craig has been great to me. He always tells me about courses that are coming up which might be of interest to me, and then gave me the information with the Education Grant which I’m hoping to get for my Masters. He’s always on the end of the phone if I need any advice or if I’m struggling with things.
How important are initiatives like the Vodafone Gain Line Award for helping players with businesses and their personal development like yourself?
Yeah, I think it's a tough one. I do feel for the RPA in one aspect in that I know a lot of young players are just young people at the end and they they're quite naive to the fact of what life might end up like and how you might need these things and it can be quite hard to get an 18-year-old to think about what he's going to do when he is 35. But I think the more that these things can be pushed and encouraged, and used as examples to speak about, it’s going to get better, so I’m grateful for these initiatives and others that the Gain Line programme runs.