In line with the goal of assisting players to have a fulfilling, meaningful and successful life after rugby, the Sharks have launched the Players First programme, which focuses on a holistic approach to player development.
In a statement announcing the new programme, the Sharks reaffirmed the commitment to managing their players through their careers and helping them “navigate uncharted waters once their rugby careers are complete”.
To achieve this vision, six focus areas have been identified:
The Sharks Entrepreneurship Academy will coordinate franchise/business investment opportunities for the player pool. The SEA has identified Afro’s Chicken Shop as the first franchise entity that will be acquired and the SEA plans to open different franchise stores in the foreseeable future depending on the level of commitment and interest from Sharks rugby players.
Endowment and investing, which will assist individual players with their personal investments. A Sharks investment fund will be formed with investment options being pre-vetted by experts. Lower asset management fees will also be negotiated for the Sharks investment fund.
Education development will provide a granular approach to each player’s individual education needs by facilitating the admin process and providing tutor services to ensure the successful completion of studies. Each player’s education background and interests will allow for tailored development plans.
The life coaching and mentoring programme will provide for the development of a holistic or ‘fit-for-plan’ career and life plan for players by identifying an individual mentor for each senior player, initially an MVM consortium member.
Post-rugby career development of a formal job placement programme will include career counselling while the Sharks’ player development manager will coordinate networking and placement opportunities consistent with the business plan.
The sixth and final post-rugby career development drive is the Friends of Sharks Rugby, where foundations will be formed in different territories (USA, UK and SA) to support former players in need of financial assistance.
“A global brand not only develops and builds its key assets but strives to protect them beyond their professional careers,” Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said.
“Out of this desire to make a big, bold and brave statement and built from an undeniable passion towards a holistic approach towards personal development, within a culture conducive to promoting diversity and inclusion, one that resonates with every player, every coach, every employee and every fan, we have initiated a Players First programme.
“We recognise that a player’s rugby journey must include lessons and opportunities both on and off the field and our aim is to transform rugby players into exceptional human beings who are prepared for the next phase of their lives, post a successful rugby career.”
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