04 Jul, 2023
• Experience of managing and leading a performance rugby programme to successful outcomes. 2014 – Present: Cardiff and Vale College Director of Rugby / Lecturer: During my most recent role with Cardiff and Vale College, my overall responsibility was to develop a high-performance rugby strategy at the College, working with and leveraging partnerships with likeminded performance based national governing bodies, regions, and educational institutions throughout the country to plan, develop, deliver, and maintain a high-performance rugby programme. No rugby was played at the College at the time of appointment. Over a period of nine years, with a primary focus on the recruitment of relevant level student athletes, relevant level staff, and making use of the sports science-based internal resource to support I have delivered, and continue to deliver, a very successful, and highly sustainable rugby academy on a domestic, national, and international level. Our playing numbers have increased from a small single squad in 2014 to the college, under my leadership, running two men’s teams and a women’s teams. I oversee the programme for each of these teams ensuring that the best quality of talent is available to all athletes to ensure that development pathways (for coaches and athletes), so that the college has a sustainable and consistent level of athlete participating in all programmes. From a relevant level student athlete perspective there is a talent shortage and drop off in Wales at U15 to U20 levels. Armed with this knowledge and experience a focus was placed on the recruitment and retention of students seeking a dual experience within education and rugby performance. Recruitment and retention strategies used included, connect and engage, early and often with parents, guardians, family members and peers promoting an ‘individual interest’ in every learner. Use of data was used on an annual basis utilising a ‘living’ strength in depth chart with squads from Cardiff Schools U11, all the regional teams withing the DEWAR shield regional framework. From a community club perspective, I always maintained a presence on Sundays throughout the Junior club season. These are approaches that I would adapt and tailor to lead a performance rugby programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University to ensure that a consistent stream of talent, academically and sporting, locally, nationally and internationally, continued to join the University. As part of the high-performance programme at Cardiff and Vale College I have endeavoured to develop and expose our playing groups to a wide opposition pool to increase their experience playing in different environments and styles. Outside of domestic league structures this has entailed playing teams from within the UK and beyond at international tournaments and tours. The challenges these additional fixtures create have enabled the rugby programme to better develop its rugby playing pool and individual squads and has also exposed our learners to new cultures and experiences that have supplemented and enriched their academic experiences. As part of this process, I have developed links with national and international age grade sporting unions and academic institutions, including within England, Ireland, Thailand, the Netherlands, South Africa, Japan, and New Zealand during my time at Cardiff and Vale college. These links have improved our rugby performance through shared learning experiences and CPD engagement with key subject matter specialists from different countries. These links have also enabled me to strengthen the college rugby programme from a recruitment process with learners and student athletes seeking to join Cardiff and Vale College from other areas to widen their life and rugby playing experiences. This is a network of contacts, who have students readying themselves for university education, that I would readily draw upon to support the theoretical and practical high-performance staff, Cardiff Metropolitan University for the academic, vocational, and sporting development of all involved. Recent WRU/NGB links: https://community.wru.wales/2022/12/07/cardiff-vale-college-ready-to-clinch-double-double/ https://community.wru.wales/2022/12/08/prosser-wings-in-to-win-cup-final-at-death-for-cavc/ https://cardiffbluesblog.com/2022/12/23/cardiff-vale-college-rugby-academy-put-themselves-on-the-map/ I have worked in varying rugby programmes within Wales for the last three decades. Currently I am Director of Rugby at Cardiff and Vale College, which has for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 Seasons achieved back-to-back A licence league wins and the Welsh Cup Championship for 2022/23. During the 2022/23 season the College also placed fourth at the World Schools festival in Thailand. To date I have overseen the development of 38 Age grade internationals from senior level, senior 7’s, U20’s. U19, U18’s and U18’s 7’s – 120 Regional U18 representatives and growing developed from within the College Rugby programme. Community engagement and community sporting opportunities have been achieved in recent years, initially to establish a community based 3G and changing rooms with plans to aid with the reintroduction of the once proud Butetown rugby club. This will be achieved with the assistance of Geraint John and his community team who are already involved in the planning process. This has included several taster days which have been delivered in conjunction with the colleges Butetown community education programmes. Regional players Dan Fish, Josh Turnbull, Ben Thomas, and Olly Robinson have been provided with opportunities to further develop their coaching craft. All playing major parts in the development of the programme its coaches and players. In my previous employment at Cardiff University as Head of Rugby I oversaw the rugby team’s promotion from the then BUSA western 2A league to Western Premier A. During m y time at the University, I overhauled the rugby playing programme so that it evolved from a social club to a High-Performance rugby programme that secured seven Welsh Varsity Wins over a 10-year period culminating in the delivery of a national varsity match played at the Principality Stadium and broadcast on national television. At Cardiff University I also worked with and developed the University Mens 2nd and 3rd teams, the Womens team and oversaw the development of a safe and effective inter-school rugby programme. During my time at Cardiff University, I led on the evolution of the Welsh Varsity Match from a match held at local university venues to a nationally broadcast event played at the Principality Stadium. Through my network within the University and the Welsh Rugby Union I was able to leverage and lead conversations between both institutions to foster a working relationship that led to one of the largest annual student events in the UK. Cardiff Rugby in the community: employed by the then Cardiff Blues to deliver all on and off field issues at Cardiff RFC; Player retention, recruitment, and management; responsible for the creation and delivery of a high-performance programme on a domestic and national stage (BIC) in league and cup competitions. As DOR monthly reports were made to the board of directors managing the limited company’s budget, discipline, and compliance requirements. As Director of Rugby at Cardiff RFC I introduced a Wednesday night lights programme offering community rugby clubs within the Cardiff Blues Region the opportunity to play a Cardiff RFC XV on the famous Cardiff Arms Park. This was a three-pronged initiative; (1). Rebuild RFC’s relationship with the community rugby clubs. (2). Player Identification, having access and film of players withing the community clubs (3). Player development, game-based discovery, and experience. Throughout my time at Cardiff and Vale College and Cardiff University I have developed a full understanding of the needs of and demands placed on student athletes and I have developed a holistic approach to the management and support of such athletes. I have and continue to develop strong working relationships with academic schools, teachers and lecturers to provide a full package of support to all student athletes and the institutions within which I operate. I have previously held the following regional age grade positions: - Forwards coach at the then Cardiff Blues U20’s who were winners of the inaugural Reebok U20’s championship. - Head coach Cardiff Blues U18’s - Head coach Cardiff Blues A squad - Director of Rugby: Welsh Students I have amassed 11 years’ experience within the Welsh Premiership as Director of Rugby at Cardiff RFC, Head coach at Merthyr RFC and Bedwas RFC. Latterly, I have overseen the re-development of the Glamorgan Wanders RFC First team and achieved promotion from Division 1 of the Welsh Leagues to securing a consistent presence within the Welsh Championship League. During my time at Glamorgan Wanderers RFC I have fostered a relationship with Cardiff and Vale College and Glamorgan Wanders that is mutually beneficial to both. For those college players that are able and capable, I secured training, playing and development opportunities at Glamorgan Wanderers. This meant that I had to be cognisant of the playing demands placed on young learners twice a week but I feel I was and have been able to successfully manage this process for the last 5 years, a capability that would be utilised to support Cardiff Metropolitan University as they continue to compete on different league fronts. I continue to provide External and internal physical and CPD deliveries with local community clubs within the Cardiff and Vale area were consistently delivered through the semester breaks, half terms and bank holidays with a focus or raising awareness, profile, and recruitment. Coach CPD deliveries with a education focus were delivered on a quarterly basis within these rugby communities. I have twenty-five years’ experience managing multidisciplinary coaching, backroom staff, boards, committees, executive teams and boards of governors as head coach and director of rugby within Further Education and Higher Education environments and also within Welsh Premiership (Cardiff RFC / Merthyr RFC / Bedwas RFC), Welsh Championship (Glamorgan Wanderers RFC), Regional age grade U16 / U18 / U20 and A team levels. As a director of rugby and head coach I have seats on club committees and professional boards and have worked closely with institutional/educational boards and boards of governors. I have also always maintained responsibility for interviewing and developing my own coaching teams but at a club/semi professional level and within my substantive employment. At Cardiff and Vale College, I retain line management responsibility for my coaching teams and provide regular performance and capability reviews as well as undertaking annual appraisals that are geared to the College’s own internal requirement but also consider the rugby specific aspects of the roles my teams undertake. Analysis of my coaching team’s styles, techniques and approaches features within my work plans as much as our player and match day analysis work to ensure that we continue to develop, as a unit, both on and off the field. Recently the work I have undertaken with Dan Fish (Cardiff Blues) had led to him securing permanent employment as a Cardiff Rugby Academy and Skills coach. • Experience of developing workforce in a sports environment. Most recently I have adopted a ‘coach the coaches’, mentor and education model at Cardiff and Vale College with salaried and volunteer multidisciplinary teams. This is education and development focus based, including a progressive team based tiered model where coaches can progress through team levels (First/Second teams). Session reviews and CPD events are delivered throughout the year. • Experience of developing and mentoring rugby coaches. Most recently I have adopted a ‘coach the coaches’, mentor and education model at Cardiff and Vale College with salaried and volunteer multidisciplinary teams. This is education and development focus based, including a progressive team based tiered model where coaches can progress through team levels (First/Second teams). Session reviews and CPD events are delivered throughout the year. • Experience of working at a strategic level including developing business plans or strategies over multiple years. Most recently I have led and delivered the creation, from the ground up, of the rugby performance programme at Cardiff and Vale College. I have developed the strategic model for the programme and developed relationships with Cardiff City council to establish the new 3G pitch, changing rooms and analysis tower at Canal Park in the heart of Butetown. During my time at Cardiff University, I led on the evolution of the Welsh Varsity Match from a match held at local university venues to a nationally broadcast event played at the Principality Stadium. Through my network within the University and the Welsh Rugby Union I was able to leverage and lead conversations between both institutions to foster a working relationship that led to one of the largest annual student events in the UK. Cardiff Rugby in the community: As Director of Rugby at Cardiff RFC I introduced a Wednesday night lights programme offering community rugby clubs within the Cardiff Blues Region the opportunity to play a Cardiff RFC XV on the famous Cardiff Arms Park. This was a three-pronged initiative; (1). Rebuild RFC’s relationship with the community rugby clubs. (2). Player Identification, having access and film of players withing the community clubs (3). Player development, game-based discovery and experience. • Experience of working in an interdisciplinary team of service providers (coach, physio, sports massage, medic, etc.) I have twenty-five years’ experience interviewing, recruiting, and managing multidisciplinary coaching and backroom staff teams. Our current provision at Cardiff and Vale College includes: 1) 1 x Full time Head of Rugby – 2 x Volunteer staff members (Positional specific) x 2 salaried hours Junior Academy development coaches. 2) Physiotherapist x 2 3) Sports Masseuse 4) Video Analysis interns x 2 5) Strength and Conditioner 6) Chef (experience of working with Clive Woodward’s WC squad) When recruiting to these roles I am always mindful of opportunities to recruit in the most cost-effective way. I make use of internal institution resource and I have also developed close working relationships with other academic institutions to recruit from academic schools where students are seeking access to vocational experience. For example, at Cardiff and Vale College we have recently recruited student video analysists and a sports masseuse. I have also appointed a student analysist at Glamorgan Wanderers RFC. I feel that it is incumbent on all within our field to support the development of talent, both front line and backroom to ensure the ongoing sustainability of our programmes. • Experience of successfully leading and motivating others, developing people and fostering engagement. During my professional career, I have had the opportunity to lead and motivate numerous performance-based teams, develop individuals, and foster engagement in various capacities. I believe that effective leadership involves understanding the strengths and aspirations of team members, providing guidance and support, and creating an environment that encourages collaboration and growth. In my previous role as a Head of Rugby at Cardiff and Vale College for example I was responsible for a group of 100+ student athletes. A primary objective was to motivate them to consistently perform at their optimum level and ensure their educational and professional development. To achieve this, I implemented several strategies: Setting clear goals: I worked closely with each team member to establish individual and team goals that were aligned with the overall objectives of the performance programme. By setting clear expectations, I provided a roadmap for success and motivated the team to strive for excellence. Providing regular and consistent feedback: I believe in the power of constructive feedback to help individuals grow and improve. Scheduling regular 1.1 IDP’s with players and staff members to discuss their progress, provide feedback on their performance, and address any challenges they faced. This approach created a culture of open communication and continuous improvement. Recognising and rewarding achievements: Priority to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work, behaviours, habits and achievements of our players and staff. Whether it’s a simple word of praise in a review meeting or our more formal recognition programs, ensuring that their efforts are valued and celebrated. This recognition not only motivated individuals but also fostered a sense of camaraderie, engagement, and family within our team environments. Encouraging professional development: Strong belief in investing in the growth and development of ALL team members. Identifying their strengths and areas for improvement with the provision of opportunities for our players and staff to enhance their skills through training programs, CPD workshops, and mentorship. Empowering our players and staff to expand their experiences, knowledge, and abilities, helping them reach their full potential but also benefiting the team and our culture as a whole. Promoting a positive and inclusive work environment: Creating a culture of inclusivity, respect, and collaboration within the team. Encouraging open dialogue, welcoming diverse perspectives, ensuring that everyone felt heard and valued. By fostering a positive environment, promoting engagement, maximising training and performance productivity amongst players and staff members. Through these strategies, I was able to lead and motivate the teams involved with, to develop their skills and capabilities, and foster a high level of engagement successfully and consistently. I believe that by investing in people and providing them with the support and guidance they need, we can unlock their full potential and drive exceptional results. • Experience of developing and building strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholder, groups and customers. Constant focus on developing and building strong relationships with National governing bodies various stakeholders, both internal and external. recognising the importance of these relationships in achieving organisational goals, driving collaboration, and ensuring player, staff, and stakeholder satisfaction. Here are some examples of my experience in this area: Internal Stakeholders: Cross-Department Collaboration: Often the most neglected of collaborative opportunities. In all my previous roles I have worked closely with different departments within the respective organisations, such as the international department (Recruitment), marketing (Profile and Influence), sales (Sponsorship), and operations (Logistics). I fostered relationships by actively seeking their input, their expertise, their resource understanding their objectives, and aligning our efforts towards common goals. Regular meetings, effective communication, and a collaborative approach helped build trust and ensure effective collaboration. Leadership Support: As head coach or DOR, I valued and cultivated strong relationships with senior management and executives. I kept them informed about the team's progress, sought their guidance when needed, and provided regular updates on key initiatives and KPI’s. By demonstrating a proactive and transparent approach, I gained their trust and support, enabling me to effectively lead my team. External Stakeholders: Customer Relationship Management: Building strong relationships with customers has been a priority in all roles. Actively engaging with stakeholders to understand their needs, address their concerns, and provide exceptional service and aftercare. By being responsive, attentive, with a readiness to go the extra mile to meet their expectations, I have been able to establish long-term relationships built on trust and mutual respect. Supplier and vendor partnerships: Working closely with suppliers and vendors to negotiate playing, leisure kit contracts, training and playing equipment contracts, establishing partnerships, and ensuring the timely delivery of goods and services. prioritising regular communication, fostering open dialogue, and building and fostering strong working relationships based on mutual trust and shared goals. This approach helped in streamlining our programmes, resolving issues effectively, and achieving high performance through collaborative effort. Networking: Actively participating in role and institutional needs specific events, conferences, and professional networking groups to connect with peers, thought leaders, and potential collaborators. Engaging in discussions, sharing knowledge, and seeking opportunities for collaboration, being able to expand my network and establish meaningful relationships with professionals from various organisations throughout the world. Overall, my experience in developing and building strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholders has allowed me to foster collaboration, drive results, and ensure institutional, player staff and customer satisfaction. I believe that investing time and effort in understanding and meeting the needs of stakeholders is crucial for long-term success and growth. • Experience of managing and implementing change. Managing and implementing change effectively is a vital skill in today's dynamic performance sport environment. Throughout my career, I have been involved in various change initiatives and have successfully managed the process. Including Change Management Planning: This involved conducting impact assessments, identifying stakeholders, and developing a comprehensive change management strategy. By involving key players, staff and stakeholders from the beginning and creating a clear roadmap, ensuring a smoother transition and increased the likelihood of successful implementation of change. Communication and Stakeholder Engagement: I believe that open and transparent communication is crucial during the phases of transformational change. I have developed and executed communication plans to inform players, staff, and stakeholders, about the change, its rationale, and the expected benefits, utilising five W’s and a H methodology and A reimagined holistic human-centric approach to transformation. Training and Development: Change often requires individuals to acquire new skills or adapt their existing skills. To facilitate this transition, I have developed and delivered training programs tailored to the specific needs of players and staff. By providing comprehensive training, resources, and ongoing support, empowering them to embrace change and effectively contribute to the new processes or systems. Change Implementation and Monitoring: During change initiatives, taking an active role in overseeing the implementation process. This involves monitoring progress, addressing any roadblocks, and making necessary adjustments to the plan utilising an adaptation of the Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation, staying vigilant and proactive, ensuring that the change was effectively executed, and any issues were promptly resolved to minimise disruption and maintain performance. Leading by Example / Continuous Improvement: Change is an ongoing process, regularly evaluating the outcomes gathering feedback from players, staff, and stakeholders. This feedback assists in identifying areas for further improvement and making necessary adjustments to ensure long-term success. Overall, my experience in managing and implementing change has involved careful planning, effective communication, stakeholder engagement, training and development, vigilant implementation, and a focus on continuous improvement. By leveraging these skills and strategies, I have successfully navigated change initiatives and facilitated smooth transitions for my players, staff and respective institutions employed by. • Experience of managing volunteers. I have had the invaluable opportunity to manage volunteers whether from community club, local schools, or internal staff members in various roles within the programme. I have developed a strong understanding of the unique dynamics and considerations involved in effectively overseeing and maximising their efforts. I have been responsible for recruiting volunteers who align with the programme and the respective institutions mission, goals, and values. Education - CPD training and Practical development: To maximise volunteers' impact, we provide them with appropriate training and practical development opportunities. This includes conducting orientation sessions, organising workshops, and offering ongoing skill development activities to enhance their experiences, knowledge, and abilities. By investing in their growth, we can empower our volunteers to perform their roles effectively and feel more connected to the programme and its players. Assigning and Supervising Tasks: allocating roles and responsibilities based on their skills, interests, and availability allows us to match their abilities with meaningful and fulfilling responsibilities. Regular check-ins, progress updates, and providing guidance and support have been crucial in ensuring our volunteers feel supported and engaged in their work. Building Relationships: Recognising the importance of building strong relationships with volunteers with a focus of welcoming them in an inclusive environment, fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork. High levels of communication, team meetings, and recognition of volunteers' contributions have been instrumental in establishing positive relationships, boosting morale and ultimately retention of said volunteers within our programme. Conflict Resolution (Taking the conflict out of managing conflict): Volunteer management occasionally involves addressing conflicts or challenges that may arise. Open, respectful, and consistent communication, actively listening to concerns, and working collaboratively with volunteers to find mutually agreeable solutions lets our volunteers know they are valued and much needed part of our programme. Recognition and Appreciation: Recognising and appreciating our volunteers' efforts is a vital part of our/their motivational climate and our retention. We have various recognition strategies such as volunteer appreciation events, certificates of appreciation, and public acknowledgments of their contributions. We have a fluid movement model referencing levels of teams placed with based on personal growth and commitment. These initiatives have shown our volunteers that their work is much valued encouraging a continued commitment to the programmes culture. Volunteer Retention and Evaluation: To ensure long-term volunteer engagement, we have focused on several volunteer retention strategies. This includes providing opportunities for feedback, and implementing improvements based on their experiences and input. We offer a full education programme and practical development opportunities. The majority of our volunteers transition into paid positions within our environment or indeed within the regional coaching framework at representative levels. Through these experiences, I have learned the importance of effective volunteer management, which involves recruiting the right individuals for the right job, character based. The provision of high-quality training and high levels of support, fostering positive relationships, resolving potential conflicts, recognising contributions, and continually evaluating and improving our volunteer program.
Head coach / Teacher Cardiff, UK