Posted on Thursday 18 April 2013 by Ulster Business

UBS Ulster Rugby

Ulster Rugby graduates to business off the with Janette Sheerman, Senior Lecturer, Ulster Business School and Ken Belshaw, Irish Rugby Union Players Association

The Ulster Business School (UBS) has joined forces with the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) to create a bespoke programme of study which will equip players for professional life post-rugby.

Seven Ulster Rugby players have completed the inaugural programme and have been awarded theUniversityofUlster Certificatein Personal and Professional Development (Entrepreneurship) CPPD.

Janette Sheerman, Senior Lecturer,UlsterBusinessSchool, explains, “Professional rugby players’ lives are dominated by training, travelling and playing leaving little time to pursue conventional forms of study.  Realistically, rugby is not a ‘job for life’ and as such theUlsterBusinessSchool’s task was to create an academic and personal development initiative which would equip the players with appropriate knowledge and skills to enable them to carve out business careers in the future.  A triple module programme was developed comprising facilitated workshops, master classes and assignments which moved each participant through best management practice to entrepreneurship.  The first cohort from Ulster Rugby is successfully through the Certificate stage and is now eligible to progress to the Advanced Certificate and potentially to a BSc Hons in Management Practice.  Ulster Business School was delighted to have been asked to work with Ulster Rugby in this unique project and we hope that the players’ immersion into the world of business will give them a practical and inspiring taste of life off the field of play.”

The seven successful Ulsterplayers are Craig Gilroy, John Afoa, Tom Court, Stephen Ferris, Calum Black, Declan Fitzpatrick and Jarod Payne.  They began the 3 modules of study in November 2012 and completed the programme on 16th April with a Dragon’s Den pitch of new business ideas sponsored by theInstitute ofDirectors.

Speaking at the Awards Ken Belshaw, Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) said, “This CPPD (Entrepreneurship) has been greatly welcomed by players atUlsterand IRUPA. IRUPA’s main function is to protect  and promote player welfare both during and after their careers. Part of its remit within Ulster Rugby is to also cater for the educational needs of its members ensuring they have sufficient preparation for life after rugby. The joint project between UBS and IRUPA targets players who have a keen interest in business but due to training and playing commitments aren’t able to take advantage of conventional ways to study and increase their knowledge and transferable skills. The course provides step by step guidance on key areas that are central to starting new business and how to make it a success. All modules have been delivered by local experts within the business industry and IRUPA would like to them for their continued support along with Janette Sheeman (UBS) who has played a major role in bringing the programme to life over the past 9 months. We look forward to working together in the future to further develop training and courses available to players.”

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