Businesses launch ‘groundbreaking’ partnership with University rugby team

A university rugby league team is strengthening its partnerships with business and local communities under a new operating model as it kicks off a new season.

Instead of being run solely by the Students’ Union the club at the University of Hull is receiving more input from the University Sport Department (Hull Sport) who are harnessing links with ex-players in the world of business and their corporate contacts.

Mike Ellis, managing director of performance marketing agency 43 Clicks North and a former player, said other business leaders “recognise the student sport environment as a potential source of future talent”.

Matt Thompson, the University’s business development manager for sport, said the rugby league team’s collaboration with the corporate world “could set a blueprint for other sports on the campus”.

Mike studied psychology at Hull and signed up for the rugby team after working with some of the players in a city centre bar. He developed his skills and, after heading to Northumbria University to do his masters degree, played for Gateshead.

As alumni executive for the current University of Hull team Mike has helped to secure the support of other former players, some of whom progressed to Super League level, and from non-playing business contacts who are scouting key skills.

Rob Daysley, managing director of Designs Signage Solutions, commented: “We provide signage solutions nationwide for a variety of businesses, including the MKM Stadium and Sewell Group Craven Park in Hull, and we recognise the importance of supporting grassroots sport.

“By getting involved at the University we’re also extending a warm welcome to newcomers to our city. We want students to come to Hull, enjoy the city, stay around and build lives and careers here.”

Other support has come from businesses in sectors including mortgages and insurance, fencing contractors, IT and recruitment.

Mike said: “Most university rugby league clubs stay under the Students’ Union banner, which means it has to be totally student run. At Hull there’s still a student committee with oversight of the club, but there is more influence from the University Sport Department and things are more open for other people to bring in ideas.

“It’s very early stages at the moment but I want to create a year-round programme which is a two-way street. It can give the team more access to businesses, workshops, help with their CV and interview techniques, money management and saving for a first house.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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