Ulster Rugby v Leinster Rugby



Describe your role within Ulster Rugby? I am the main point of contact for clubs and schools in relation to the management of all domestic competitions and management of administrative support for domestic rugby. I, along with the domestic administrative team, work closely with all clubs, schools, development staff, USRFR and Ulster Branch committees to ensure the smooth running of domestic competitions and administration. This ranges from player registration, teamsheets, collection and interpretation of data on the domestic game, competition regulations, safeguarding and many more behind-the-scenes activities. Describe your career / employment history? I qualified as a PE teacher and later went on to complete a Diploma in Marketing and an MSc in Sport, Exercise & Leisure. With the development of leisure centres I held various management roles in Olympia and Ormeau Park Leisure Centres. I moved to what was then Lisburn Borough Council as the first Sports Development Officer in NI, where I spent eight years. I had a short spell working for Sport NI on the Lottery elite funding programme before moving to a UK sport charity, Youth Sport Trust, as National Development Manager, where I spent 12 years - affording me the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka, Jordan and the Netherlands. Before moving to Ulster Rugby I had spells working for Disability Sport NI and Newry & Mourne Council. Favourite thing about your job? Whilst most of my role is in non-glamorous areas, I really enjoy the opportunity to support our development staff in their roles, club volunteers as the lifeblood of our game, and the volunteers that serve on the various Branch committees. What do you enjoy most about working for Ulster Rugby? Without a doubt, the people. My colleagues are dedicated to developing rugby at all levels and this shows in their enthusiasm and willingness to go the ‘extra mile’ as part of a dedicated team. Meeting and supporting the array of club volunteers also makes

the job worthwhile - our clubs could not operate without them. What is your biggest achievement to date? In my current role, it would be putting in place the processes for the statistical information provided to assist in development decisions at all levels of the domestic game. I would also say my involvement in the running of domestic finals is also special, as for the majority of those involved they see it as playing on the ‘hallowed turf’ of Kingspan Stadium. In my previous employment, it has to be the personal development of young people through sport, in particular via residential workshops and links with other countries. What is the most challenging aspect of your role? The changing nature of society has led to changes in how and when individuals want to engage with the game as players and volunteers at all levels. The provision of statistical information to support the development decision making process is key. That, and dealing with the issues that inevitably come up from time to time, can sometimes prove challenging. However, in the majority of cases, successful outcomes are found. What are your plans/goals for the upcoming season? To continue to provide support to development staff and Branch Committees to enable them to make development decisions and measure outcomes. Also, to endeavor to continue improving services to hard pressed club volunteers to make their tasks easier. Who is your favourite Ulster player? As all my playing days were spent behind the scrum, it has to be John Cooney. He had large shoes to fill, and has shown a professionalism and positive approach, making him a favourite with supporters.

To get in touch with Paul, email paul.whitten@ulsterrugby.com



Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker