PCA Futures Week explores career transition

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Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association

Flagship event of week sees players learn vital skills at Futures Conference

  • PCA Futures Week encourages players to consider future career options
  • Players convene at Loughborough University’s Elite Athlete Training Centre 
  • George Garrett: “Being able to network at Futures Conference is priceless.”

PCA Futures Week has drawn to a close having explored career transition stories from the PCA membership, whilst shining a light on enhancing player’s personal development.

In the weeks and months leading up to the event, the PCA spoke to players about their personal development journeys and what advice they could give to others looking to go through transition. You can find out more about those stories here: Georgia ElwissGavin GriffithsLiam Hurt and Fran Wilson.

At the beginning of the week, England legends Ian Bell and Katherine Sciver-Brunt shared their own stories of personal development via the PCA’s social channels, as Bell shared his passion for coaching and Sciver-Brunt talked of her experience at Futures Conference last year.

The flagship event of Futures Week is always the PCA Futures Conference, where players have the opportunity to hear from industry experts and put the skills they’ve learnt into practice.

Professional cricketers from across the country attended the conference, including former West Indies head coach Phil Simmons, former England international and current match referee Devon Malcolm, alongside current players such as Thunder’s Phoebe Graham and South East Stars and England’s Freya Davies.

The 15 members in attendance took part in 13 sessions throughout the conference which included many activities, exercises and discussions designed to give the players clarity on future career options and transition.

The two-day event held at the Elite Athlete Training Centre at Loughborough University took place on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 November as players gained expertise from guest speakers.

On day one, the Personal Development team, led by Charlie Mulraine, took the players through the ‘Planning a Career Pivot’ seminar followed by an ‘IT Skills Development’ session.

In the afternoon, players heard from coaches and umpires about how those career options could be developed and what was needed to explore them in more detail.

Day one ended with a ‘Players’ Stories’ session in which former players Sciver-Brunt (who attended last year as a player), Ben Cotton and Greg Smith shared their own personal transition stories.

As part of Futures Week, the PCA explored transition stories of players that have found their future career, alongside those currently going through the transition. The PCA interviewed Italian head coach Gareth Berg, England legend and finance advisory student Anya Shrubsole, cricket coach and former Kent batter Alex Blake and former Gloucestershire player and current Aldi graduate scheme member George Scott.

The earlier that players can start to think about transition, the better, as the average age that a professional career retires is just 26. Each year many professionally contracted players leave the game, with the average number of leavers per year across the last 10 seasons being 42.1.

On day two, the players learnt how to grow their network in an ‘Optimising LinkedIn’ workshop before the PCA’s Official Financial Wellbeing Partner, Brooks Macdonald, delivered a session on building a successful financial future after cricket.

A ‘Presentation and Networking Skills’ seminar was expertly delivered by Diane Wilkinson from Presenting Virtually before The Official Partner of the PCA Futures Awards, Lodders Solicitors, delivered a ‘Business Start Up’ seminar.

For the third year in succession, the PCA Futures Awards will take place at Lodders offices in Cheltenham, rewarding PCA members who have taken steps towards improving their personal development.

The event concluded with a ‘Networking Carousel’ where attendees put into practice the skills they’d learnt over the two days giving them the chance to speak with PCA partners and other former players.

Running from Monday 30 October – Sunday 5 November, Futures Week encourages cricketers to consider their second careers and start planning ahead as they look towards the future.

Former England international, Devon Malcolm, said: “I wanted to come to Futures Conference because I’m a match referee and you’re never too old to learn. I wanted to come and learn a bit more about IT and get a few contacts and make my job a lot easier, it’s important to keep up with the times.

“I’ve been a PCA member almost 40 years and to see the work they’re doing is fantastic. It’s great to see the younger players here and thinking about transition, because trust me you have to stop playing at some point and this Futures Conference gets them thinking about the transition as early as possible.”

PCA Thunder Rep, Phoebe Graham, said: “I wanted to have a look at what life might look like after cricket, I’m at a stage now of shorter contracts and I want to make sure I’m ready.

“With cricket you can use your time in the off season to try and plan for the future and make sure that cricket isn’t all encapsulating. It’s always important to think about developing yourself outside of cricket.

“From this two day workshop I’ve taken so much information, it’s been amazing and it’s provided me with a lot more clarity.”

Kent bowler, George Garrett, said: “I wanted to come to Futures Conference to broaden my horizons and build those bridges which will get me ahead of the curve in the future when I’m thinking about transition. I’ve learnt a lot about LinkedIn and CV writing and how to properly present myself, as well as how to positively build relationships.  

“It’s an immense couple of days and to get the breadth of knowledge from all sorts of different careers and having that platform to be able to network with these people is priceless.”

PCA Lead Personal Development Manager, Charlie Mulraine, said: “Futures Conference is one of the flagship events at the PCA, it’s a two-day residential conference aimed at past and present players looking to explore their identity away from the game and planning for their career beyond cricket.

“The carousel on day two allows the players to network and bring all the tips and skills that they’ve learnt from the event into practice and get a sense of what opportunities are out there once they finish playing.

“We’ve got a 50/50 split of male and female players here and it’s great for them to share the experience of being in the game because they can learn from each other, it’s been brilliant to see them grow in confidence throughout the conference.”

PCA Futures Conference 2023 attendees: Hassan Azad, Ben Brown, Freya Davies, George Garrett, Katie George, Phoebe Graham, Nancy Harman, Simon Kerrigan, Devon Malcolm, Alice Monaghan, Fi Morris, Aron Nijjar, Tara Norris, Phil Simmons, Ben Smith.

Futures Week shines a light on the area of personal development and career transition among PCA members. The two-day Futures Conference forms the centrepiece of the initiative and both are part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP). Click here to find out more.

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