Helping players navigate life after sport is high on the agenda for many sporting codes. Thanks to education grants from the Australian Cricketers' Association, players are taking advantage of the opportunity to build off-field skills during downtime imposed by COVID-19 restrictions and beyond.
Studying with AGSM will see players from both the men's and women's teams participate in a range of programs starting with AGSM’s Leading Change, Leading an Organisation Through Dynamic Environments, Developing Data Strategy and Leading with Resilience short courses. Players including Ashleigh Gardner, Pat Cummins, Moises Henriques and Alyssa Healy will join participants from a wide range of business backgrounds on the course to learn from the top business minds in the country.
"Alongside the chance to learn at a leading business school, we see the opportunity to network with other participants and learn from their experiences as being instrumental in the player's off field careers," said Erin Todd, Player Development Manager, Cricket NSW.
Upon completion of the virtual learning courses, the cricketers will receive points towards their AGSM Certificate in Executive Management and Development (CEMD). The certificate recognises their professional development and can act as a pathway towards AGSM MBA qualifications for those who want to take their learning further.
"We have players taking part who are at a stage where they are really preparing for what's next, along with players who are just starting out on their cricket journey. We know on-field careers are not forever, so we want to give them the skills they need to succeed in life after cricket," Todd said. "We've had great engagement and uptake from players, and it's something we think can only grow."
Women's international wicket-keeper, Alyssa Healy, sees the study as an opportunity to explore her next steps. "You learn a lot about leadership and team performance on the field and it's great to have the opportunity to develop those skills further to build a post-cricket career," Healy said.
Women's international wicket-keeper, Alyssa Healy. Image: Cricket NSW
For men's International all-rounder, Moises Henriques, this is a chance to take his burgeoning business career further. "I've been on a few boards for a while, and I can see how important it is to build the strategy and finance skills to really step up in a business environment, particularly when I am no longer playing," he said.
Upon resumption of play and the lifting of current restrictions, players at all levels will take part in a customised face-to-face course, which will work around on-field commitments.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for elite athletes to develop the skills that will enable them to build business careers and connections," said Magnus Gittins, Director at AGSM Short Courses.
“AGSM is all about being future focused, looking to help cultivate our future leaders by developing adaptive behaviours and upskilling,” Gittins said. Our programs equip participants to be resilient, agile, and able to manage business and technical disruption. We are preparing the leaders of the future, by providing active learning experiences, exposing them to practical skills and tools they can immediately apply to real business problems and in assisting with the transition to new careers or return to work.”
"By taking part in virtual learning courses now, the athletes are making use of the off-field time presented by COVID-19 which gives them a chance to work with a diverse cohort in live, facilitated online workshops. The customised face-to-face course will then reinforce those skills and contextualise them to the player's needs and environment."
Gittins added that other participants also stand to benefit greatly from the cricketers' experiences.
"For the participants on our virtual learning courses, working closely with elite sportspeople can only add to the depth of experience.”
“We recognise that on-field sports leadership is a skillset that business professionals can learn a great deal from – collaboration, critical thinking, adaptive mindsets - are all skills athletes develop over the course of their playing carers. We are excited to have the opportunity to learn from them through the involvement of the Australian Cricketers' Association and Cricket NSW players," he said.