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Thursday, 4 June 2015

University rugby clubs: The path to professional rugby?

Whilst university rugby players don’t always have the best reputations, playing in college games can lead to being talented spotted. This isn't surprising given the wealth of training support and specialised programmes which university clubs offer those who are good enough to be selected. As some of the best rugby players in history got their break on the university team, perhaps this is a good way to transfer from amateur to professional rugby.

A good way to get noticed

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Whilst most players will maintain a lifelong interest in the sport after playing at university, checking Coral for the latest fixtures that they can perhaps place a bet (or two) on, a lucky few will use their time with the University club to gain exposure. Professional rugby conditioning Coach Ben Wilson offers invaluable advice for those wanting to become a professional rugby player. Amateur clubs, for Wilson, are brilliant places to get noticed once you are over 20 years old as they offer the opportunity for players to “excel at the lower levels and then be invited to train with the professional teams and thus go on to win a contract”. Of course, Wilson is quick to point out that this will require dedication to the game through a rigorous training and fitness programme but if you are good enough university clubs are a perfect spot to be scouted.

Will Greenwood’s history with Durham University Rugby Club

Will Greenwood, Charlie Hodgson and Will Carling (among others) have all played with Durham University’s rugby club; unsurprisingly, the standard of players picked is very high but once selected the club offers access to “some of Britain’s finest and most experienced coaches” as well as weekly specialist clinics for players. In an interview, Will remembered his days with the club at Durham with fondness saying “We had a small group of players who really made the most out of ourselves. We never had any floodlights, so we used to pull all the cars up to the touchline and turn the headlights on to train.”

Joe Ansbro shone under the varsity match spotlight

After making his debut with the Cambridge University rugby senior team against an Australian University’s team back in 2005, Ansbro found himself well on the way to his professional rugby career with the likes of London Irish and Northampton Saints. For Ansbro, it isn’t just the talent and potential to succeed which is important for success but also the ability to play under pressure, and the varsity match can provide an excellent initial introduction to the sensation of participating in a big match for the players, speaking back in 2013 Ansbro stated that players should “never underestimate the Varsity Match.” And whilst an unfortunate injury caused a premature retirement from the game, Ansbro still remains involved and interested in rugby.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Is it too late for a career change?

You might assume that once you’re past your first flush of youth, you’re too long in the tooth to alter the course of your career.  However, this simply isn’t the case. It doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s never too late for a career change.

Retraining may be easier than you think

For a start, retraining might be much easier than you think. Even if you have financial or family commitments that mean you can’t return to full-time study at school, college or university, there are other options out there. For example, distance learning gives you the chance to study at a time and place that suits you, and there’s no shortage of these courses on offer either. If you’re interested in completing GCSEs, IGCSEs or A levels, you can visit websites like www.ool.co.uk to check out your options. There are also a variety of degree-level or vocational training courses available.

By opting for a distance learning programme, you should be able to fit your studies around your
existing schedule, minimising any disruptions to your life and earnings.

Take inspiration from the stars

It does require courage to take the plunge and embark on a new career path, but there are lots of examples to follow. Cartoon legend Walt Disney is one of those who dramatically changed his work. He once held a position at a newspaper, but things didn’t go quite to plan while he was there and he eventually found himself fired from his role. Amazingly, according to his editor, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.

Another celeb to have changed direction is comedian and TV personality Ellen Degeneres. Before making it big on screen, she once worked as a paralegal. She also tried her hand at waitressing and was even an oyster shucker.

Seek some sage advice

Before changing your career, it’s wise to seek advice from people who know what they’re talking about and who can provide you with useful guidance. If you know someone who’s been through a major career change, chat to them. The will probably be happy to share their experiences and they should have some words of wisdom for you to bear in mind. You can also find plenty of information and advice online, and you might benefit from speaking to a professional careers advisor.

The benefits of starting a new chapter


There’s no getting around the fact that starting a new chapter in your career can be a daunting prospect. However, by making the effort to change your working life, you could dramatically increase your job satisfaction and you might find you’re much happier and more fulfilled overall as a result. It’s certainly well worth investigating your options.  

Monday, 1 June 2015

Why choose a career in sales?

If you’re in the process of choosing a career, it’s well worth considering sales. It’s true that these roles aren’t suitable for everyone, but as long as you have the relevant skills and qualities, working in this field could bring a whole range of rewards. Here are just a few of the reasons why it may pay off to pursue a career in sales.

The satisfaction of success

One of the best things about these roles is the sense of satisfaction they can bring. Using your powers of persuasion to land a deal can be a real thrill. Meanwhile, as well as the pride and enjoyment you can get from individual sales successes, you’re bound to feel an extra boost when you make any targets set by your employer.

There’s another way in which sales roles can offer fulfilment. You might also get a good feeling by helping your customers to buy products or services that will have a positive impact on their lives. For example, if you are a contractor associated with field marketing specialists such as Appco UK, you may be involved in selling home efficiency solutions such as boiler replacements and solar panels. As well as benefiting the environment, these property improvements can bring down consumers’ utility bills.

So, if you’re the sort of person who thrives on meeting targets and you want to make a difference on a daily basis, sales could be the ideal route for you.

Impressive earning potential  

Then there is earning potential to consider. Sales roles often come with competitive salaries, and when combined with commission and bonuses, they can be highly lucrative. If you’re prepared to work hard and to hone your skills, you could earn a very good income. After all, effective sales personnel are highly valued by companies because of the direct benefit they have on their bottom lines.

On a related point, you should have plenty of opportunities to progress within this field. With a strong record, you should stand a good chance of landing management positions.

Varied working days

Unlike many other jobs, sales roles can be highly varied too. You’ll get to speak to different people on a daily basis and, depending on the type of roles you take, you might get to deal with a range of different products and services. You may also have the opportunity to travel. Many sales personnel find that no two working days are the same. They experience an array of different scenarios and challenges that help to keep their roles interesting.


Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the reasons why it may pay off to start a career in sales. However, it should give you an insight into why these roles are so popular.