Success Stories in working for the RFL
Full-time Match Official, Recruitment & Development Manager
It was 2011, when I was 16 when I was encouraged by some of the coaches to do a referee course that was coming up. I had played rugby when I was younger but thought I’d give refereeing a go with no expectations other than just try and earn some pocket money. After doing the course and refereeing games in Northwest Counties, I loved it and would do three or four games a week! Having lost a lot of weight training to get better I began to progress and through the support of the society I got to do the interchange role on a Super League game, from that day onwards I knew I wanted to be a Super League Referee. After continuing to progress and a lot of good coaching I was appointed to Touch Judge my first Super League match at 18 and at 20 was a Grade 1 Referee in the Championship and League 1 comps. I had completed my Law Degree at University and had planned to pursue a legal career as a Solicitor, but in 2017 the RFL advertised the role for a Full Time Match Official to join the panel. It was a big decision to make in my career, but I knew I wanted to do the role full time to learn and progress. Thankfully, I got the job starting in June 2017 and went on to referee my first Super League game that same year.
2017 also included getting selected to go to Australia for the World Cup at the end of the year which was another unbelievable experience, and I could feel I was improving with full time coaching and learning off some greatly experienced top-class referees in that environment. 2019 saw me take on an additional role as part time Recruitment & Development Manager bringing through and coaching new officials, something I am passionate about as well as working closely with my RFL colleagues from all departments of the game. I started the 2020 season with confidence that I had established myself and experience as a Super League referee and the season turned out to be one, I’d never forget. I went on to referee my first quarter, semi and then Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, at 25 the youngest ever referee. I have started my 5th year working at the RFL as an Elite International Referee showing that there are great opportunities in the game to pursue a successful career, if you are willing to be dedicated, work hard and be resilient.
Talent & Performance Manager
When I interviewed for this role, there was a heavy focus on the people, the community, and the work environment. While I cannot experience the latter, I am incredibly grateful to the people that have supported me so far. I have been in close contact with the People Team throughout my onboarding process and continuing into the first few weeks of my role. The People Team made sure that the onboarding process was straightforward, simple, and useful and I felt confident on my first day knowing that I was prepared to start. Since then, I have felt comfortable going to them for any question or query, however big or small, and they have been more than happy to help. Knowing that I have people looking out for me during the onboarding process and as I settle in is incredibly reassuring.
Starting a new job during a pandemic was bound to have its challenges. Despite this, I feel like I am already a part of the RFL team, even though I have never met any of my colleagues in person. I am learning a lot about how to adapt to virtual working, but everyone who has helped me along the way has made this process really easy. I am really looking forward to meeting my team in person and being able to join the RFL community.
National Clubs Manager and Grade 1 Match Official
Volunteer Team Manager for the England Wheelchair RL
Volunteer Wigan Referees Society, Treasurer and CWO / Welfare contact. Volunteer at Orrell St James under 10’s and under 12s
I think the RFL is a great employer and supportive to a good work life balance. I am part of a dynamic, fast paced team that are working very hard to include and improve the sport making it as accessible as possible to everyone to get involved. The RFL give me the flexibility to manage time to ensure the community clubs are supported and accessing continued development opportunities, as we are including and getting more people involved and growing the game.
I have had a number of roles in the Community Development team and access lots of ongoing learning opportunities gaining qualifications and CPD. I also really enjoy giving back to the sport I love and have players from 10 years old by giving my time and experiences to help others get involved.
National Women & Girls Development Manager, RLWC2021 Ambassador and England Women Player
I started with the Development Team at the RFL back in January of this year as the National Women & Girls development manager, since moving over from the RLWC2021 I’ve really enjoyed getting hands on in event delivery and introducing some an exciting new competition to the Women’s game with the Women’s Nines which saw York City Knights victorious in the inaugural event.
I have already had lots of opportunities to meet some really influential people in the women’s sport space and utilise their expertise and research to drive the women & girls strategy forward to create an even more welcoming environment in Rugby League for the female players across our game. All this whilst being supported fully by everyone at the RFL in my playing career with St Helens and England in what is a hugely important year for the England Women.
Director of Operations and Legal & Match
I first joined the RFL in February 2011 to fulfil my dream of officiating at the highest level in the sport. Until this time I had practiced law in a high street firm in Oldham whilst officiating on a weekend.
Stuart and Karen were very supportive to allow me to continue to fulfil both roles with my primary focus being on my officiating whilst also carrying out 2 days a week within the Legal Department at the RFL. Obviously, I had to ensure there were no conflicts of interest so my main legal roles were safeguarding and the 2013 World Cup. What an experience that was.
From there I have carried out various roles within the Ops and Legal team to try and further my skills and expertise. The RFL have always been supportive of both my careers ensuring that I balance the roles and undertake all training to make sure I was ready for life off the field.
As a result I was able to officiate major finals, officiate on 4 continents and play my part in some of the best matches of Rugby League. Whilst now I can focus on furthering my legal career and use all the skills I have developed to improve and support the sport from off the field.