The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) recently teamed up with London Irish to host an informative business forum at The Hazelwood Centre in Sunbury-on-Thames.

The evening organised in conjunction with the RPA’s Personal Development Programme (PDP), brought together the full London Irish playing squad, as well as former players, RPA corporate partners and supporters.

Guests were treated to a relaxed evening set within the impressive state-of-the-art facilities of the recently developed Hazelwood Centre, overlooking the London Irish training base.

The evening got underway with an introductory speech from London Irish Chief Executive, Bob Casey, followed by a fascinating presentation from former London Irish flanker and now current UK Managing Director of CBRE UK, Ciaran Bird.

Ciaran spoke about his own rugby career, his transition from the game and the importance of building a successful career both on and off the pitch, and in particular using networking as a significant tool to prepare for life after rugby.

The former flanker spoke to the RPA after the event and said:

“It’s been a pleasure to present to the playing group tonight and as a former London Irish player I was delighted to return to my old club and share my own personal experience.

“Hopefully through my presentation I have encouraged the players to think about life after rugby and inspired them to explore as many opportunities as possible whilst they’re still playing.

“From my experience it doesn’t necessarily depend on how qualified you are or how well you did at school, it’s all about how passionate and determined you are to build a successful career away from the rugby pitch.”

Speaking on behalf of the playing group, RPA Player Representative for London Irish, Andrew Fenby, said:  

“It’s been a brilliant and worthwhile event and to hear from someone of Ciaran’s calibre and understand the pathway he took and the values he’s taken from the game into his new career has been fantastic.

“It really struck home that through rugby we’re actually incredibly employable and all the skills we possess throughout our careers are exactly the traits that businesses and potential employers are looking for.

“A huge credit to our RPA Personal Development Manager (PDM), Julian Springer, and our Team Manager, Alex James, for working so hard to get all the squad here tonight and organising such a terrific event.”

We would also like to thank RPA Partners, BMW and Michael Page, as well as Queen Mary University of London and The College of Estate Management for providing advice and information to the players throughout the evening.

If you are interested in supporting the players through the RPA Personal Development Programme please contact Richard Bryan on 020 3053 6670 or [email protected]

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