For April's RPA Column, we spoke to our Development Manager Craig Townsend, who leads on our Education offering to talk to us about how crucial it is to keep developing...
A life in learning
Whatever term you use, whether it is continued professional development, lifelong learning or permanent education, there is no doubt that learning new skills and knowledge will give you the confidence and motivation to succeed off the pitch whilst still delivering quality performances on the pitch.
As a professional athlete, skills and conditioning are developed daily and periodised not only over a year but to see growth and development over the length of a 10-year professional career or more. Developing your dual career philosophy should be no different and having a clear education pathway at the heart of a post rugby career plan will allow your mind to grow and open up many more opportunities in the future!
Albert Einstein once said, ‘education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think’.
Your skills and abilities are enhanced ensuring you expand beyond formal education and that will permit competence and efficiency within your skillset and into future career development.
Education comes in all forms from self-guided reading, to learning a basic skill, to studying for a university postgraduate MBA. It can range from a 15-minute commitment each day to having to devote 20 hours a week into a subject that will give you the necessary qualifications to secure a top job. Your education might be focused around starting a business or helping in the community therefore challenging you to improve your life skills alongside education.
The key to your education plan is that it should be constant and continued from the time you enter a senior academy at 18. Everyone has different interests and learning styles that can be easily mapped around professional rugby training. Don’t leave a gap in your education profile and start easy with short courses or challenging yourself in skills you never had the chance to acquire at school. Or you continue your education path from school straight into University. Many players have trodden this path and been successful both on and off the pitch.
My own guide is the ‘rule of 10’. Try and continue your education and learning for at least 10 years throughout your career. Completing a different course, qualification or experience each year will soon add up to a pretty impressive CV with a boatful of professional contacts and a career post rugby that will surpass your one with the oval ball!
The RPA have a well-established network of education offerings and partners. Recently we partnered with APEC who offer a wide variety of qualifications in athletic performance and fitness education through a blended learning model to compliment your rugby commitments. Numerous subjects are offered at discount via the distance learning college with further courses available at a variety of Universities and training providers in subjects like medical sales or business and management.