“The Very Last of the Amateurs! Post-Rugby Union Career Development Support in Professional Rugby”

The Business of Sport – Seminar Series

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 1st October 2008 at 6pm
(For directions click here)

“The Very Last of the Amateurs! Post-Rugby Union Career Development Support in Professional Rugby”

Given by:

Jason Reilly
Player Development Manager, Professional Rugby Players’ Association (PRA)


In this presentation Jason Reilly will present an overview of the player development programme of the Professional Rugby Players’ Association (PRA), the organisation established to represent the interests of players in English professional rugby union. The motto of the PRA is:

“To promote and protect the interests of our members by endeavouring to safeguard their futures both on and off the pitch.”

Jason will begin by presenting an overview of the development of professional rugby since its world-wide adoption in 1995 and the inception of the English Rugby Premiership in 1998 on the foundation of what had been an amateur sport for over 100 years. He will outline the various roles of the key industry stakeholders: the role of the Rugby Football Union (RFU); Premier Rugby Ltd (PRL) and the Professional Rugby Players Association (PRA). Key points that he will address include:

  • The emergence of the professional game in 1995/96.
  • The Club Vs Country tension and its resolution.
  • What it means being professional for the clubs and players.
  • The role of the PRA and the Player Development Programme.
  • Career transitions for professional players – the very last of the amateurs!

Jason will illustrate his presentation with examples from his own career development following the end of his rugby playing career, and from his subsequent re-entry into a career in professional sport.

Preparatory Reading:

Seminar attendees are recommended to view, prior to the seminar, two case studies on successful post-career development at:


Further reading can be found on the PRA website and on Jason’s personal website at:


Jason Reilly was responsible for initiating the Player Development Programme in June 2004 for the Professional Rugby Players’ Association. This is the national support programme of professional development and career education training for the 550 professional rugby players across the 12 English Guinness Premiership Clubs. Jason mentors and career coaches young, as well as international professional athletes. There is a focus upon personal and professional development during their sporting careers, ensuring these elite athletes develop:

  • A performance enhancing sport/life balance.
  • A holistic individual career development plan over the long-term.
  • Adequate preparation for the transition out of full-time sport and into their next career.

The role also includes delivering support and resources to develop their personal brand, job searching skills, CV and interview preparation; and assisting them in networking and researching into their chosen industries and businesses.

Jason played rugby at the elite level for Queensland, New South Wales and Cambridge University, whilst also gaining a broad experience of work within construction, security, finance, education, not-for-profit & professional sport.

Jason can be contacted at:

Mobile: 07725 142065

For further details on this Seminar Series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Email: or Tel: 020-7631 6763

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