Authored by Dan Tuohy, ex-Ireland Rugby International
If you’re reaching the end of your playing career or have recently finished, talk to FutureProof for advice and guidance on your next steps. The company has been instrumental in finding me a position where I get to learn on the job and develop my career. This is my story.
There was uncertainty after my playing career ended. Like many sports people, I don’t like the unknown, I’m used to timetables and rigid scheduling and believe I’m at my best with a clear structure in place.
But mid-pandemic, after being forced into early retirement through injury, I didn’t know where to start to find a job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I was actually good at. And COVID made it impossible to physically get out there, network, or offer myself up for work experience.
There was real urgency and a feeling that time was passing me by, and I couldn’t effect change. I had spoken to several professional reps for support and guidance but during that time there wasn’t a host of opportunities. I needed help.
Lucky to have a lot of support around me–most notably my wife Keely–I began the search for a new career. It was during this search I stumbled across Tom May on LinkedIn, an advocate for recruitment for past players and athletes.
The power of an advocate and ally in FutureProof
Recognising that you need support and being prepared to ask for it, is no small endeavour. In fact, this was the hardest part of the process for me and took courage.
At the time, I was applying to a few jobs and had reached a late stage interview for one but it didn’t progress any further. I picked up the phone and started talking to the team at FutureProof.
The team listened to everything I had to say, asked probing questions, and I could sense immediately that they understood me and my skills. There was genuine enthusiasm about what I can offer a company and my transferable skills. I wish I’d known about them sooner.
After speaking to multiple members of the team, I was feeling much more positive about my outlook and knew that I had a resource available to me to guide me on my journey. I registered for job updates and after a few weeks, received one for Atlantic Projects Company, right here in Dublin.
I applied and was delighted to be given an interview.
Atlantic Projects Company’s Athlete Programme
APC is an engineering company with offices and sites all around the world. The position available was for a graduate-like scheme specifically designed for ex-athletes and sportspeople.
It was the first I’d heard of such a scheme and it sounded like an excellent place to start a career. My first engagement with the organisation was an informal chat with Yvonne Day, Corporate HR Director at Atlantic Projects Company.
“The mentality of athletes is rare; strong and determined,” she told me. “Their drive to win and to make continuous improvements is compelling and extremely desirable in a work setting.”
Not only was this reassuring, but it confirmed something that I knew inherently: given a chance, I could succeed at pretty much anything thrown at me.
“Competition for talent is coinciding with a universal equal opportunities drive and a demand for organisations to be diverse, sustainable and fair” Yvonne said.
“To that end our Athlete Programme opens up the engineering and construction sectors to broad-minded, determined and, possibly under-represented people who may previously have felt it unattainable or off-limits. Our programme is always looking to find and welcome new talent”.
Yvonne explained the company’s ambitious growth targets and how former athletes such as myself would be a critical part of that journey. I was excited to play a part in supplying a secure energy future for people in Ireland and around the world.
Learning on the job in the Athlete Programme
Since starting with APC, the company has been extraordinarily welcoming. We are busy with three new sites starting in Dublin and the surrounding area as well as a broad spectrum of demands across Ireland and the UK.
People have always had time for me and offered me support and guidance. In addition, APC has been proactive with upskilling me and advising me on my future development, encouraging me to progress my career in a direction which best suits me.
At the same time, APC has given me responsibility to learn with on-the-job tasks and critical experiences. I’m challenged every day and excited to be part of a project that will play a large part in millions of peoples’ lives in the future.
Looking to the future with Atlantic Projects
The next 12 to 18 months now look packed full of interesting project management work. As an Assistant Project Manager, I’m working on the FlexGen Projects commissioned by Electricity Supply Board (ESB) Ireland.
Alongside this work, I’m pulling together a plan for my own professional development to target areas that APC deem of critical importance. Yvonne and her team are helping me to achieve these targets together.
My advice as you approach the end of your playing career
The first thing to say and which may seem like common sense, is that there isn’t some magical job just waiting for you, you’ll start effectively at the bottom. Previous professional accomplishments hold little value in the business world.
BUT, don’t discredit the skills you have: discipline, drive, and that attention to detail that once saw you compete at the top level are all useful skills. You do have a lot to offer and the knowledge gaps can be filled.
And don’t wait until the very end to start having conversations with those that can help you. Honestly, there is no right or wrong time to get started on planning your life after your sporting career so get in touch with FutureProof and start assessing your options.
Want to find out more about the Atlantic Projects Athlete Scheme?
If the Athlete Programme at APC sounds interesting and you’re considering your next move, speak to someone in the HR Department at APC today and find out more about what’s involved.
And for more advice on finding your next career, speak to FutureProof.