Six Warriors players are planning for a possible future career as financial advisors with Bromsgrove-based AFH Wealth Management.
Second row partners Graham Kitchener and Anton Bresler, loosehead prop Ethan Waller, hooker Isaac Miller, fly-half Jono Lance and scrum-half Michael Heaney are combining playing and training with studying for a Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
With the support of Lynette Cutting, Warriors’ Education Officer, and Dawn Walker-Bennett, AFH’s Head of Business Development, the players will take around two years to complete the six modules in the diploma.
“I know a few guys who have had to retire early or have got to the natural end of their career at 30-35 and have been stuck knowing what they are going to do and have gone through a couple of years of not doing much and soul searching,” Kitchener said.
“If you plan as early as you can then hopefully it helps to make that transition as easy as possible.
“When I first moved back to the club from Leicester in the summer, Lynette talked me through a few options and put me through some tests and this option – financial advising – came up as one that could be suitable for me.
“I have thrown myself in and we will see how it goes. It’s about advising clients where best to put their money and where best to invest. It’s quite exciting.”
“It’s really nice to work with people who have no pre-conceived ideas and hopefully see them flourish and become advisors with AFH,” said Walker-Bennett.
“It’s a really good allegiance between a local sports team and a local company.”
AFH already have one former Warriors players on their staff in Duncan Hughes, an ex-Wales Under-21 full-back, whose rugby career began in the amateur era.
Having planned to become a teacher when he went to University, Hughes trained as a financial advisor while he was playing for Newport in Wales, had four years as a full-time professional with Warriors and then combined rugby with financial advising during a stint as a semi-professional with Stourbridge.
“When I started, rugby was amateur so you had to have a fall-back position. A lot of us stepped out of careers to play rugby and then stepped back into careers,” Hughes said.
“Nowadays it’s vital that players do have the opportunity to try a number of different things. I was lucky that the first thing I fell into I really enjoyed and I have carried on for 20 years in the industry.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to try different avenues. The first one, the second one, the third one might not be the right fit but the fourth one might be the one that you can do while still playing rugby.
“There are far more career-shortening injuries now than there were when I was playing which makes it even more critical that players do start planning ahead while they are still playing.
“If your career is suddenly ended by injury you don’t have the opportunity to wind that down to semi-pro to enhance your non-rugby career.”
Although these are early days in their training the six Warriors so far boast a 100 per cent pass rate which has delighted Cutting.
“AFH have been very supportive, for example, through recruiting a tutor to help and support the players through the course,” she said.
“I am really pleased that to date we have had a 100% pass rate on the first module of the course”.