Sporting end game for job-hunting athletes

Former jockey Mark Bradburne in action Ex-jockey Mark Bradburne trained as a physiotherapist but is now an electrician

The career opportunities available to former sports people after they call time on their playing days have come a long way since the era of choosing between either the pub or hospitality trades.

Nowadays there is much more planning, career advice, vocational courses, and all-round general support available for when the final whistle blows.

"The transition is always difficult, and it is very similar across the different sports," says Brendan Batson, chairman of the Professional Players Federation, the UK umbrella organisation for professional player associations.

"You are leaving a very physical, dressing room environment, and going into the outside world."

Batson, a former Arsenal, Cambridge United, and West Bromwich Albion full-back, says the key to making the difficult move from the somewhat closed world of sport into the world of business, is "preparation during your playing career".

Injury focus

One former sports person, who made the tricky crossover, and with unusual results, is ex-jockey Mark Bradburne, who came third in the 2004 Grand National.

University-educated and a trained physiotherapist, he chose to become an electrician after hanging up his National Hunt saddle in December 2011.

Brendan Batson, left, playing for Arsenal in 1973 Ex-footballer Brendan Batson (left) works with people leaving the world of sport for work

"When you are doing sport, it is hard to think outside of that," says the 37-year-old.

"But most jockeys have some time on the sidelines injured, and that was when I had time to think about the future and giving up sport at some stage."

He had started riding as an amateur while doing his degree.

"I slowly realised that I would not be a great physiotherapist. So I thought I would look to build a successful riding career," he says.

When his sporting career ended, he did not want to go into physiotherapy. He says starting again at a junior level would have paid about £18,000 a year, not enough from him to support a wife, two children, and house.

With support from the Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme (JETS) he realised he wanted to become an electrician.

He did a high-intensity course, and passed his City & Guilds, and is Part P qualified.

Start Quote

You have an identity as a sportsman, and then you lose that identity and become someone totally different”

End Quote David Barnes Former Bath prop and RPA officer

"I am still learning all the time. I am was lucky to have experienced the world of learning before, but I think other jockeys - who all have brains - might not find it so easy." says the Scot.

He is self-employed, and hopes, if business does well, he will be able to offer training schemes to other jockeys.

After 85,000 miles on the road a year as a jockey, much of his work now comes from the racing fraternity around the town of Lambourne.

"I have probably worked in 90% of the yards," he says. "It means I can't charge the top commercial rate, but I never have a day off either.

"I am lucky to have retired on my terms. My opportunities were getting less but I could have ridden for another year. But if people are forced to retire through lack of opportunities, or age, or injury, then they might struggle."

Regimented life

Former Bath prop David Barnes is director of rugby and player development manager at the Rugby Players' Association (RPA).

David Barnes, chairman of The Professional Rugby Players' Association The RPA offers a variety of courses, including public speaking

"The biggest hurdle - one I have been through - is you have an identity as a sportsman, and then you lose that identity and become someone totally different," he says

He says when players start a new career they often find they are behind their peers in terms of experience, and hence pay - which can drop steeply in the early years outside sport.

"In sport you live in a very regimented sphere, you are given schedules, and know exactly what is expected of yourself and team mates," he adds.

"When you move into a different role, there is that lack of the 'constant'. A lot of players find this very hard."

Start Quote

We advise players to use their spare time to research what they want to do with their future”

End Quote Jason Ratcliffe Former Surrey batsman and PCA officer

He says that the down-time enjoyed as a player also disappears when they move into a nine-to-five job.

"It effects not only the player, but also his family - he may not be able to look after the children as before. There can be a lot of domestic upheaval."

However he points to the positives, and says sports people have many transferable skills - including dedication and professionalism, and "the habit of doing things right, and to the best they can".

"In sport they have had to work hard. Players are good at teamwork and are very committed."

He says ex-players have gone into a wide range of careers, from lawyer to to grass seed salesman.

Winter opportunities

Jason Ratcliffe, a former Surrey batsman, is now deputy chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).

He says cricketers have a very close and loyal working relationship.

Jason Ratcliffe in action for Surrey in 1997 Jason Ratcliffe encourages cricket players to get out and network

"When I analysed it I realised I was not chatting to many people apart form my team mates," he recalls.

He says this can often leave cricketers without a network outside the sport that they can tap into after their playing days.

Start Quote

This is the right thing for me, for my wife and children and for our long-term future”

End Quote Mark Bradburne

"We encourage players to get out and talk to other people, for when the transformation from playing days to workplace days." he says.

"The players who are savvy are the ones who, when they are making a sporting name, are also going to functions and seminars and meetings, talking to corporate partners and others who might be able to help with careers."

He also says cricketers generally have more time free in the winter than other sports, and can use that time to seek work experience or vocational training.

"We advise players to use their spare time to research what they want to do with their future," says Mr Ratcliffe.

Despite the many courses and training opportunities which player associations offer, there will be those - such as former footballer Paul Gascoigne - who find leaving their sport traumatic.

Paul Gascoigne playing for Newcastle v Liverpool in 1986 Paul Gascoigne has encountered problems since retiring from football in 2004

"We give a lot of support to former athletes but sometimes you can have everything there and individuals have their own personal issues," says Brendan Batson.

"But there is support for those individuals who fall on difficult times."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    SCOTLAND POWERS 07:42:
    Prime Minister Cameron

    Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to come up with plans for new Scottish powers on tax, spending and welfare. The government is aiming to get an agreement by November. The BBC's personal finance reporter Brian Milligan is having a closer look at what that could mean.

     
  2.  
    MARKET REACTION 07:33: BBC Radio 4

    Anne Richards, chief investment officer at Aberdeen Asset Management tells Today: "A very close vote would have been a difficult one for markets." She adds: "I think we have had a reconnection between the political establishment, business and the electorate. And it would be good to see that momentum maintained going into the general election."

     
  3.  
    07:29: HEADLINES
     
  4.  
    ALIBABA SHARE SALE 07:29:
    Alibaba

    Away from Scotland's vote, shares in Alibaba start trading in New York later today. It has raised $21.8bn (£13.2bn) in one of the biggest ever stock market debuts. It is likely to use the money to expand in the US where it has a very low profile. A survey by Reuters showed that 88% of Americans had never heard of China's biggest internet firm.

     
  5.  
    RBS STATEMENT 07:21: Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    Royal Bank of Scotland has given a statement to the BBC's business editor, Kamal Ahmed, it says: "The announcement we made about moving our registered head office to England was part of a contingency plan to ensure certainty and stability for our customers, staff and shareholders should there be a 'Yes' vote. That contingency plan is no longer required. Following the result it is business as usual for all our customers across the UK and RBS."

     
  6.  
    REFERENDUM REACTION 07:14: BBC Radio 4

    Patrick MacDonald former boss of John Menzies, tells the Today programme the debate over Scottish independence has changed the country forever. "Things will never be the same again," he says. There is now "a need to reform our 300 year old constitution" and the country also needs to work at reconciliation to "make sure businesses stay in Scotland".

     
  7.  
    RBS 07:08: BBC Radio 4

    A little more from Mike Amey on the referendum result. He tells Today: " I suspect there's a very large sigh of relief at RBS [over the result] They don't have to worry about where they were going to be based and how they were going to conduct their future business."

     
  8.  
    MARKET REACTION 07:07: BBC Radio 4

    Mike Amey, managing director and portfolio manage at bond trader PIMCO tells Today he expects the markets to open higher as a result of the Scottish referendum result. "It will be back to the data for our traders and what the Bank of England will do [on interest rates]."

     
  9.  
    MARKET REACTION 06:49: Radio 5 live

    Adam Parsons is in the City at the offices of stockbrokers IG with their chief market strategist, Brenda Kelly. She says the opening of the FTSE 100 might be quite as dramatic as some expect. That's because markets have been predicting this outcome over the last few days. However, she says, it could "break through 6930" which would be a record high.

     
  10.  
    06:42: Via Email Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    There are other uncertainties now for Scotland after this vote. But, for markets at least, the big uncertainty that could have lingered for a year and half over the currency and the economy is lessened and sentiment is positive as a result.

     
  11.  
    06:33: Louise Cooper, CooperCity market blog

    "So it's up up and away this morning, the question is how far does it [the pound] go before reality sets back in and other political fears begin to dominate: The rows in Westminster over devolution max which has been promised. The General Election and the UK referendum on EU membership. Party conferences season resumes next week so there will be plenty of headlines to be written about the next set of political risks."

     
  12.  
    CITY REACTION 06:27:

    The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Fiona Woolf has welcomed the outcome of the Scottish referendum. "The proposed enhanced devolution that Scotland will experience while remaining in the UK will enable its national spirit to thrive while our entwined economies and business communities prosper together," the Lord Mayor said.

     
  13.  
    YES CAMPAIGN CONCEDES 06:23: BBC Radio 4
    Scottish first minister Alex Slamond

    Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond has hailed 1.6 million votes for independence. He concedes that "we now know there is going to be a majority for the "No" campaign". Scotland has, by majority at this stage, voted not to become an independent country," he adds. He expects devolution promises to be honoured with "rapid force".

     
  14.  
    ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND Via Email Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    With No confirmed as the winner in the referendum, we can expect the Royal Bank of Scotland to say there is now no need to move domicile to London. The bank had prepared for a "Yes" vote by saying last week that it would move its headquarters from Edinburgh. I wouldn't be surprised if Ross McEwan, the chief executive, re-iterated the bank's commitment to Scotland. I am sure RBS's executives are relieved that the upheaval of independence will now not happen.

     
  15.  
    POUND STRENGTHENS 06:12:

    A decisive win for the No campaign could lead to big spike in the Pound. Jeremy Cook, economist at World First says. The obvious risk to the currency markets was a Yes, and that would have caused a big sell off. Now the markets will go back to concentrating on the fundamentals of the UK economy," he adds.

     
  16.  
    SCOTLAND INVESTMENT 06:01:

    Simon Walker, director general of business group the Institute of Directors has given an interview to the BBC. He says he thinks the government will now give the green light to investment projects that had been previously held up because of the uncertainty caused by the independence referendum. He adds the ending of that uncertainty will be positive for business.

     
  17.  
    POUND STRENGTHENS 05:54:
    pound versus dollar

    This chart shows the pound against the dollar over the last month. You can see it dipped to a low of $1.6071 on 10 September. That was after a poll in the Sunday Times showed a lead for the "No" campaign. It is now trading at $1.65. That's a move of 5 cents which is pretty big over two weeks.

     
  18.  
    MARKET UPDATE 05:47: BBC Radio 4

    Asian markets are up nearly 2% overnight BBC business correspondent Linda Yueh, tells Today. The market indications are that the FTSE 100 will open 0.7% higher. That's not exactly a surge but it is a positive reaction.

     
  19.  
    BANK OF ENGLAND 05:42: BBC Radio 4

    Justin Rowlatt is down at the Bank of England for BBC Radio 4's Today programme: He says the lights are on and staff are busy working inside. Although perhaps not quite as frantically as if Scotland was looking on course to vote Yes in the referendum. Bank governor Mark Carney cut short a meeting to fly home overnight. "He may have had a wasted trip," Justin says.

     
  20.  
    POUND STRENGTHENS 05:36:
    Pound dollar

    This chart shows how the pound has faired against the dollar since the polls closed in Scotland on Thursday evening. As you can see it's strengthened from a low of $1.63 to above $1.65, that's its highest point since the start of the month. In currency market terms it's also a huge move in a short space of time.

     
  21.  
    05:30: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    The pound has bounded higher overnight in reaction to the Scotland vote. More reaction through the morning. Stay with us.

     
  22.  
    05:30: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning folks. It looks like - with 26 of 32 local authorities now having declared the result of their ballots- that the No campaign is on course to win the Scottish independence referendum. We'll bring you all the reaction from the financial markets and the business community as it comes in. As always if you want to get in touch you can email us at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet us @bbcbusiness.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • A person taking a photo of fireworks on a smartphoneClick Watch

    A look at the latest gadgets which could make it easier to take the perfect night-time picture

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.