Saracens rugby players join businessmen on unique leadership development programme

A leading investment management firm has partnered with a Premiership rugby club to launch a new training programme designed to accelerate the development of leadership capabilities in sportsmen and businessmen. 

Sanlam Private Wealth (SPW), launched the initiative as part of a longer term strategy to be an “Employer of Choice” by creating a great working environment to attract and retain the best talent. The programme is run by Foundation for Leadership through Sport (FLS) over a four month period at various venues ranging from Saracens’ training ground in St Albans to a military establishment. 

Vic Luck, a director at FLS, explained that the programme was “hands on” and participants were able to draw from practical experiences and strategies that could be applied to the workplace.

“This is a superb opportunity for sports and business figures to learn side by side, in a peer-to-peer way and so accelerate the development of leadership skills that are crucial to success in both sport and business.”

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Ken Williams, is one of the nine individuals from Sanlam Private Wealth, who was selected to participate and work alongside Saracens including England fly half Charlie Hodgson, as well as the club’s emerging talent.

He said: “I’ve already been on one course. It creates better manager and leaders and allows the rugby players to be better sportsmen and maybe one day play nationally.

“It’s a big effort for them [SPW] to provide the players with training, the big advantage is that it gives them confidence. The skills are useful for life as it makes you understand your own circumstances and behaviour and how you would respond to things that puts you under pressure.”

The course brings together people from different backgrounds and encourages them to broaden their learning experience. Modules include: developing awareness of personal style and its impact on others, communicating for effect.

Don Barrell, Academy Manager at Saracens feels the programme will be important for his players, said: “Within elite sport, everyone is incredibly fit and skilled, and all players essentially train to the same degree. So the critical point of difference is often the mental ability and leadership within the squad. That’s why we’re taking this training programme so seriously. We need our next generation of players to be able to make good, consistent decisions in difficult match situations. The teams that do that time after time are the winners. 

“This unique course offers our up and coming talent the chance to learn alongside leading business figures from Sanlam, people with a different set of challenges and backgrounds. As such it really broadens the learning experience and gives our team access to insights that it would have been impossible to develop in any other way. We are immensely grateful to Vic Luck of the FLS for organising this.”



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