Rugby development officer

Rugby development officer Thomas playing for Cartha Queen's Park RFC

At only 22, Thomas became Glasgow’s youngest ever rugby development officer.

He even spent seven months teaching rugby in New Zealand, the home of the mighty All Blacks.

And this is all thanks to his Modern Apprenticeship (MA) in rugby coaching.

Thomas says, ‘If it wasn’t for the MA I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’m the youngest person to ever be in this job. The MA has benefited me massively.

‘When I went to New Zealand I developed my management skills and my confidence as a person. It opened a lot of doors for me.’

Why a Modern Apprenticeship?

‘I left school after my Standard Grades and noticed the Modern Apprenticeship vacancy. The MA gave me the opportunity to start a career in the game that I loved,’ says Thomas.

After completing his Modern Apprenticeship, and scooping Scottish Modern Apprentice of the Year in 2010, Thomas went to college for a year to study sports coaching with development. He was 18 when he landed a sports coaching job in the north west of Glasgow.

Three years later he moved to New Zealand for seven months before returning to Glasgow to be the rugby development officer for the whole city. 

What is a rugby development officer?

‘I oversee all of Glasgow city’s four regional clubs, four rugby development officers as well as five MAs,’ says Thomas.  

‘I’m in charge of the development of programmes, like the schools programme.

‘We have club development officers in 24 secondary schools in Glasgow and we’re hoping to grow that next year.

‘It will very depending on the experience of the players but we teach technical aspects of the game as well as the basics.

‘Our ethos is the same as Scottish Rugby, we’re not looking to develop players, we’re looking to develop athletes. Rugby is a way of engaging young people within school.’

As well as helping young people develop their team working and communication skills, Thomas and his team are also looking out for the rugby players of the future.