Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
Learn Before Wicket programme leaders engage with educational session.
The PCA Inclusion Champions gathered at Edgbaston to reflect, listen and learn new skills after delivering sessions to every professional squad in England and Wales.
The Inclusion Champions received an upskilling educational day organised by PCA Director of EDI Donna Fraser OBE and delivered by presenting expert Rob Geraghty and Khembe Clarke from AKD Solutions, who deliver stimulating, challenging and fun learning experiences through an EDI lens. It provided an opportunity to share experiences about how sessions have been delivered so far, to learn off each other and develop.
The aim of the day was to build on their existing expertise and knowledge of a number of EDI topics as well as enhancing their presenting and conversational skills.
The ‘Learn Before Wicket’ (LBW) equality, diversity and inclusion educational programme, led by Fraser, has been designed to empower members with the necessary skills and knowledge to embrace diversity, exercise inclusivity and to promote equity and equality within their cricket environment.
The LBW programme was launched in January this year and so far, 34 sessions have been delivered with more scheduled for the latter part of 2023 and early 2024. The workshops have arisen to promote continual learnings and to build on the progression driven by the PCA EDI Working Group that was established in July 2020.
The following February, an anti-racism programme was launched with EW Group, beginning the process of eliminating racial discrimination from the professional game. This was followed by delivery of Inclusive Language sessions to county academies by the PCA, beginning in November 2021.
With a member-first outlook, the players in the professional squads decide what topic included within the programme they would like to receive a workshop on. The topics include: Inclusive Language, Unconscious Bias, Intersectionality, Allyship, Faith & Religion, Disability Inclusion, LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination.
Players and staff have engaged enthusiastically with the sessions showing a willingness to learn, with a genuine curiosity and desire to be more understanding and aware of behaviours.
The LBW programme arose based on feedback from previous player surveys, Personal Development Manager conversations with players and the expertise of Fraser. From the player survey conducted with players from the 2022 season, 64% believed that their cricket environment was more inclusive than 12 months previous.
The Inclusion Champions are to create their own workshop based around the Equally Yours EDI board game. The aim of this initiative is to enable fun and meaningful conversations around the subject whilst bringing out the natural competitive edge of members.
PCA EDI Director, Donna Fraser, said: “The Inclusion Champions have only been in position for under a year and yet the impact they have already had on the professional game has been quite incredible to see at times. Having a day to get together as a team to listen, learn and develop their skillset is very important as we look to evolve the programme for the needs of PCA members.
“This is not just about being an Inclusion Champion, it’s about their personal development and how they can be better as individuals and potentially become facilitators in the future, this is a journey for them and of course it will have a great impact on the LBW series.
“It’s been hugely valuable having current and former players deliver the LBW sessions because they can relate to the conversations in the changing rooms.
“EDI is ongoing and it’s a journey so we will keep learning as we go on and we’re constantly learning and developing.”
PCA Inclusion Champion, Alex Tudor, said: “Being an Inclusion Champion, I want to be able to help and I like to think people see me as someone that is approachable. Through understanding and education we need to continually evolve and also put yourself in others shoes.
“I ran an LBW session with the Northamptonshire Academy and it was a great experience that I really enjoyed delivering with Arul Suppiah.
“When we start the sessions we tell a story about a lived experience that happened to us in a changing room and now many people can’t believe that those sorts of things were happening, so we’re moving in the right direction.
“I’m 45-years-old, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m still learning and we’re just trying to change the way people feel in the changing rooms to make them a safe space, we don’t want anyone to feel isolated so they can go out there and perform to the best of their ability.”