Acorn supports Welsh rugby players into work

RUGBY players retiring from the game in Wales will have the support of leading recruitment and training specialists Acorn to help find them new careers.

The Welsh Rugby Players’ Association, which represents more than 200 professionals playing regional rugby in Wales, has teamed up with Acorn to exclusively help them plan for life after they hang up their boots.

The preparation of players for their future careers outside rugby is considered to be one of the key aims of the WRPA Player Development Programme.

The Association’s Player Development Manager, Zoe Eaton, works with players from the four professional rugby regions in Wales to determine their career interests, educational and vocational needs, identify work experience opportunities while they are still playing, and help with the transition from rugby into the world of work.

To help ensure that as many former Welsh rugby pros find work once they stop playing, the WRPA has now enlisted the expert help of Acorn in providing additional training support, careers advice and the matching of players to potential job opportunities.

The association aims to get Acorn involved at an early stage, before players give up the game, assisting with exploration of careers, matching players to industries and, in some cases, even finding temporary or part-time employment or experience to build a player’s CV alongside their rugby careers, and later helping to secure full-time work once they retire from the sport.

Zoe said: “Rugby players leave their sport in possession of valuable skills learned and honed on the rugby field that are easily transferable into the world of work. Skills like leadership, teamwork, decision-making, competitiveness and perseverance, organisational talents, goal setting and the ability to deal with both success and set backs.”

Former Wales and Cardiff Blues rugby star Rhys Williams, who is President of WRPA, said: “We are delighted that Acorn has agreed to work with the Player Development Programme to support players in the preparation for their next careers, and during this transition to finding employment. Working with Wales’ leading recruitment and training company, the players will now have access to specialist consultants within Acorn whose industry and regional knowledge is unparalleled.”

Acorn Group Marketing Director, Dan Langford, said: “Playing professional rugby is a short career, with many players retiring from the sport in their early thirties, if not before.

“Some high-profile stars move into broadcasting with TV and radio roles when they stop playing, and some players go into coaching and management. But there are many others who from a young age have concentrated solely on rugby and find it a lot harder to land a new, suitable career immediately after giving up the sport. This process can be likened to school or university leavers who often take a while to find their niche.

“The WRPA helps them to bridge that gap by working with each player, building an individual development plan to map out their professional future beyond the sport. As the leading recruitment and training company in Wales and with offices throughout the UK, Acorn is clearly well-placed to support the WRPA and the players in this way.”

The Acorn Group, which has its headquarters at the Celtic Springs Business Park, near Newport, has 35 branches across Wales, the West Country, the North West of England, London and the South East, placing up to 5,000 people into around 850 different client companies each week.