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Responsible business is the winning way

Posted: 8th November 2016


I have always understood the importance of getting the best out of every member of a team…

As a former Scotland rugby flanker I had the privilege of playing for my country 45 times, several as captain, each time knowing that the team was only as strong as its individual part, and that each member of the team depended on the guy standing next to him. I retired from playing almost ten years ago. Now work in Edinburgh Rugby as Managing Director, but I am still passionate about the ability of my sport to bring out the best in all of us, and that each one of us has a lot to give “the team”.

That is why I am an ardent supporter of the City’s Responsible Business campaign, and why Edinburgh Rugby is throwing its weight behind this initiative through a variety of programmes we run, and through the way we try to operate on a day by day basis. Rugby is a professional sport at the level I work in, with all of the ruthless dedication, hard-work, excitement, emotion, triumph and disaster that professional sport brings. But sport is about so much more than the players who make up a team. It’s about the whole community that it engages with. Rugby has such a strong set of values – around discipline, team-work, fair-play, respect – that I think it can play a real role in helping all kinds of people get on better in life.

We’re seeing that in action through a number of initiatives. For example, through “Game On” in Scotland.1 million young people in the UK are not in full-time education, employment or training – almost one fifth of all those living in the UK – with the highest proportion in deprived areas. Each young person in long-term unemployment costs the state more than £100,000, rising to £300,000 for those that fall into crime. In response to this, Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby are working with partners to engage and recruit young people (aged 16- 19) not in education, employment or training onto a unique education and training programme, with the ultimate goal of progressing young people onto full time work, employment with training (apprenticeship) or education. The project uses rugby as a medium for engaging with and recruiting young people into a programme which will encourage them into regular sporting activity in order to receive the associated health and wellbeing benefits. It will also use rugby and rugby role models to support and educate disadvantaged and disillusioned young people into further opportunities in mainstream education and training, whilst realising their own personal outcome (independent living, volunteering, continued rugby participation)

In addition, we use the excitement of our match days to offer a unique experience to young people through our masterclass coaching sessions, our guard of honour, and halftime fixtures for clubs, schools, community groups or simply a group of friends to take part in. We also run larger events both on match days and out with including mini rugby festivals, family fun days, student activities and even adult rugby opportunities. We also, like many sports organisations, run holiday camps for younger children. As well as being delivered by qualified Edinburgh Rugby coaches, the camp offers the opportunity to learn about our sport, its values, to make new friends and to meet some of the professional players for photographs and autographs during each session! At Edinburgh Rugby, we also try to ensure we conduct our day to day business in a professional but also inclusive way. We want to be good neighbours, and we always aim to be professional and reasonable to deal with for our customers and our suppliers.To do this we have to have dedicated staff and must create an environment where employees are enthusiastic about their role in supporting Edinburgh Rugby’s objectives both on and off the field. As such we work alongside Scottish Rugby to ensure we continue to develop our people through a number of initiatives.We participate in Scottish Rugby’s Healthy Workplaces Group encouraging staff to be more active and healthy; we aim to create a sustainable organisation focussing on a “Customer First” philosophy, be that customer a fan or club or youngster who may come to our camps, we will aim to support our staff with training for each of their specific roles.And of course through the work we do with Game On, match day coaching or our camps we are always looking to develop opportunities to ensure that rugby is open to all.

Being a responsible business means treating others with respect, dealing fairly, going the extra mile to make a difference. Kind of like trying to be a professional sportsman…

Image : Copyright © SNS Group / SRU

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