While rugby needs to be the priority for our RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) members at this stage of their career, The RPA Player Development Programme also encourages players to put their free time to productive use to prepare for later life. This basically means downing the play stations and picking up some useful qualifications, trades or work experience.

Former Leeds Carnegie centre, Ollie Richards, has done just this by teaming up with RPA Business Club member, Brewin Dolphin, to gain a wider knowledge of the financial services sector.

Richards, who is also studying for a degree in Business Management & Economics, said: “I’ve found it really interesting, it’s been a great insight into the working the world. There have been a few things to adjust to, but working with my Player Development Manager (PDM), Mandy Thompson, has made that adjustment a lot easier.”

Brewin Dolphin are one the UK’s largest independent private client investment managers and have 41 different offices throughout the UK and Channel Islands offering a wide range of financial services and have over £25 billion under their management.

At just 20, Richards, who is currently on a summer trial with Newcastle Falcons, is very aware of making the most of his free time and with the help of his PDM he is already planning for the future: “I’ve always had an interest in finance and broking, but at the same time I’m also interested in Sports Science. So at the moment if I get a couple of weeks free at the end of each season I’m trying to gain as much experience as possible in a number of different areas.”

The young centre was also keen to stress the importance of young players using the services of their PDM to benefit them: “I think it’s a great waste not to use what the PDM’s offer. The opportunity it gives professional rugby players is invaluable and with their contacts and experience you’d be silly not to take advantage of it.”

During his two weeks at Brewin Dolphin Richards was given the opportunity to explore a number of areas of the business including investment management, financial planning and business support. Each helping him to build a greater understanding of the company as a whole and giving him the chance to understand working with investment portfolios.

Division Director of Investment Management at Brewin Dolphin, Martin Tyson, was certainly impressed with what Richards has to offer: “It was a pleasure working with Ollie, he quickly settled in and contributed to the efforts of the team. The majority of his time was spent within an investment management team; we also gave him a chance to spend some time in our financial planning and business support teams. It was clear Ollie appreciated how to work effectively in a team and as he grew in confidence his contribution to the team increased.”

Investment Manager, Chris Hynes, was also impressed: “Ollie impressed us with his level of commitment, enthusiasm and willingness to take on challenges that stretched him and if he didn’t understand something he would ask.” However he did feel there was one area in particular Ollie could improve on, saying: “He showed some aversion to taking his turn in making a brew, but overall he displayed solid analytical and interpersonal skills and was a joy to have around.”

If you would like to know more about The RPA Player Development Programme or how to get involved, please contact RPA Player Development Manager Mandy Thompson on 07889 601 709 or or visit

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