“There is Nothing That I Learnt in Sport That Doesn't Apply to Business, or Life” * : The Continued Engagement of Professional Sports People, Industry and Tertiary Educators

Author Faculty (Discipline)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



14th International Engagement Australia Conference


130101 Continuing and Community Education

Reportable Items



The business of sport has always been popular in countries all over the world. This research shows the success with external engagement of organisations such as the Australian organisation of RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), Universities, Industry and Players of Rugby when they play together off the field in educating professional sports people. This research was completed over 3 years, with 2 different rugby organisations, the NSW Waratahs and the 2016 Olympic qualifying Australian Rugby 7s’ men’s and women’s team participants. The use of the Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy (CAP) collaboration and engagement model, shows a tailored education program designed specifically to engage professional sportspeople, not used to sitting in a classroom for any length of time. The CAP collaboration and engagement model provided rugby players/students with guest lectures by industry experts and using their industry partners enabled students to tour major industry facilities to cement their classroom learning (eg their major sponsor QANTAS). Outcomes included 20 rugby players graduating from the Advanced Diploma of Management program over a 3-year period. The collaboration of tertiary educators, industry and sport over a 3-year period also resulted in reciprocal university research for these sporting clubs and their industry partners. The CAP collaboration and engagement model designed for professional sports people bring sport, industry and education together off the field, an engagement collaboration resulting in win-win outcomes for all.

An outcome not initially recognised was the issue of the sporting clubs opening their doors to students at undergraduate level, who they shared lecturers with (eg Bachelor of Business). Lecturers from the Advanced Diploma (who were sourced from a regional university) were asked to bring current undergraduate students to the NSW Waratahs club at Allianz Stadium to tour the facility and speak with their player development manager about the importance of education. They were also invited by the Australian Rugby 7s to tour their facility at the Sydney Sports Academy, where the (then) Olympic qualifying players discussed with them the importance of risk management (eg injury) and career planning. Students sharing information with other students resulted in reciprocal collaboration of knowledge.

The case studies of the NSW Waratahs and the Australian Rugby 7’s shows that the CAP collaboration and engagement model suits their style of learning. Students like that the curriculum is designed with their future careers in mind, that the assessment tasks enable them to write business plans and deliver presentations as both a group and as an individual. Finally, the use of guest speakers and excursions compliments the theory learnt in the classroom. The then sharing of knowledge between students was an added bonus to all collaborators. The CAP collaboration and engagement model in particular suits professional sports people not used to spending huge amounts of time in a classroom. The model compliments their physical needs with their educational needs by stimulating them with a combination of classroom learning, guest speakers and excursions, and led to the unexpected external engagement with stakeholders from the University, Sports, and Industry. Truly a win-win situation for all collaborators in engagement of knowledge sharing.


Used by permission: the author

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