UCEN Manchester’s new partnership with rugby league

RFL CPD day at City Campus Manchester

UCEN Manchester and Rugby League Cares develop bespoke training programme to support Super League player welfare.

UCEN Manchester welcomed player welfare managers from all 12 of the Super League clubs and 3 Championship Clubs to their City Campus Manchester for a two-day CPD event aimed at supporting the managers to gain further knowledge and skills to support them in their valuable roles.

The sessions, organised and delivered by UCEN Manchester’s expert tutors and trainers, are part of a developing partnership between UCEN Manchester, Rugby League Cares and the RFL.

Mark Harris, Associate Dean, UCEN Manchester, said: “We’re excited to be working with the team at Rugby League Cares and the wider RFL to support them with the fantastic work they are doing around player welfare.

The bespoke CPD professional development event for their welfare managers is all about enabling them to see how they can best support their players in and around careers, welfare, education and advice and guidance.

"This is just the start of our partnership, and we look forward to seeing what we can do together.”

The event provided the player welfare managers with the opportunity to enhance their skills and share best practice and learning with their peers from the other Super League clubs.

Steve Hardisty, Wellbeing and Projects Manager at Rugby League Cares, said: “Today has been fantastic, and really worthwhile to be part of this holistic professional development day. We’ve covered a range of areas from UCAS, to funding structures of HE and FE, some work around CV building and help to develop peer to peer learning. 

“In addition to the CPD days, UCEN Manchester is running a bespoke counselling course for the RFL. This is a wonderful opportunity. Our welfare managers are the gate keepers to the clubs and upskilling them is invaluable. This is going to be an exciting partnership.”

Tom Fitzpatrick, Welfare and Education Manager at Wigan Warriors attended both CPD days and is already seeing the benefits. He said: “It’s been brilliant, the presenters are very knowledgeable. After the first day I went back and shared what I’d learnt with the other staff at the club. 

“The sessions provoked conversation with everyone in the room, we’ve been sharing ideas. It’s made me reflect on my practice and impacted my delivery – and reassured me I’m doing the right thing.”

With the role of a welfare manager centred on relationships with people, they need to have a minimum Level 3 qualification in Counselling Skills. UCEN Manchester has developed a bespoke training programme for the RFL, and a number of the welfare managers are currently working towards the qualification with UCEN Manchester.

Former rugby league player and Welfare Manager at Hull, Feka Paleaaesina, is currently studying the Level 3 Counselling course and attended the two-day CPD event. He said: “I finished playing in 2017 and was lucky to transition straight into this role. I’ve really enjoyed the sessions and took a lot from the tutors."

It’s helped me to gain more understanding of the role. It benefits us and so ultimately benefits the player.

Day two also featured a theatre workshop delivered by Mayes Theatre who are alumni of UCEN Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre.