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Posted by RLPA

June 24, 2020

Career Development: David Gower

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has launched a new content series promoting career development opportunities for players and the importance of planning for life after footy.

The Career Development Q&A will each week feature a player who has engaged in meaningful development opportunities away from the field, providing an insight for other players and the industry about their journey.

The content series also highlights academic achievements from within the playing group, many of which have utilised the support available through the NRL-RLPA Wellbeing and Education program.

Part 5 of the Career Development Q&A features Parramatta Eels player and Player Advisory Group member, David Gower.

Q1 What off field development are you completing or have completed?

I have completed a wide range of courses over the years, including:

  • Bachelor of Sports Business (Leadership)
  • Cert 3 Electrotechnology
  • Cert 3 & 4 Fitness
  • Cert 4 Workplace Training and assessment
  • Cert 4 Elite athlete wellbeing

I am also looking into undertaking my MBA.

Q2 Why did you choose this field?

I chose wellbeing because it is something that I am passionate about. I understand uniquely the challenges that players face both and off and the field. I chose my Bachelor of Business because I have ambition after I retire to become a General Manager of Football.

Q3 Did you always have this career path in mind?

My career path has developed and expanded throughout my career, it has changed a few times, but I am very happy with where the path has led me.

Q4 Have you utilised any support available to players through the NRL-RLPA Wellbeing and Education program?

I have utilised TEA grants from the Parramatta Eels and the NRL/RLPA education grants to have been able to fund my entire degree and Certificate IV in elite athlete wellbeing.

Q5 What plans or goals do you have for post-retirement?

I would like to transition straight into an off-field role. Complete my MBA and become a General Manager of Football.

Q6 If you could give yourself one piece of career advice back in your rookie year what would it be?

Start university in my rookie year. I waited until the fourth year of my career to begin University. If I started earlier, I would have completed my MBA by now.

Q7 How important is it for players and the industry to prioritise career development opportunities?

It is extremely important. Rugby League can be extremely challenging both emotionally and mentally. A lot of the times, results from the weekend impact the following week at training and home.

By having something outside of Rugby League to focus your energy on can only be a benefit. There is also evidence that players who are off field engaged in study have longer careers and are more successful.

Q8 How have the skills you have developed through playing NRL helped with your educational development?

The game has taught me gratitude, resilience, perseverance, discipline, and work ethic. These are all key personal skills that you need to be successful in anything you do, but especially studying while playing professionally.

Q9 How important is having the support of your coach and football staff when pursuing education options?

To be honest I found the support of my wife and family more important than football staff. Our Wellbeing and Education team always have been fantastic for me; encouraging me and providing everything I could ever need to be successful. I am grateful for those who have helped me along the way.

Q10 Was there a time you felt like giving up on your studies and if so, what helped you keep going?

At times, when I was doing three subjects per semester at University and with two kids under the age of five at home. It was only ever for a fleeting moment. I always had a five-year plan in my head that required me to be disciplined at my studies. Failure would have meant I would not put myself in a position to be successful as soon as my career ends. I am ambitious by nature and want to be successful at everything I do.

Stay tuned for next week’s Career Development Q&A with another member of the RLPA Player Advisory Group!

PART 1: Chris Lawrence

PART 2: Christian Welch

PART 3: Dale Copley

PART 4: Darius Boyd

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