Xerox, together with the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU), has launched the Xerox Lions Learning Hub, a long-term development programme for players within the Lions Rugby Union. This programme will support both the current performance demands and their future personal and professional goals, and provide players with the essential skills needed to forge a career beyond the game.
This new venture follows the announcement that Xerox will renew its Currie Cup and Super Rugby sponsorship for another three years. This will take the Lions' combined title sponsorships through to the end of 2019.
Johan Basson, CEO of Bytes Document Solutions, the official Xerox distributor in southern Africa, says: "We have sponsored the Lions for many seasons, since 1993, and we have a rich and rewarding relationship with the GLRU. We wanted to take this sponsorship to a whole new level and in doing so, give back to rugby and to sport as a whole."
The Xerox Lions Learning Hub will kick off in 2017. The aim is to have SETA-accredited qualifications and to ensure individuals on the course have the opportunity to work with mentors on specific topics.
"We are excited to be involved in this project, as this joint venture will play a vital role in streamlining our players' future career pathways. It will also make the sport more appealing and attractive, and provide a long-term approach to maximising individual potential and involvement in rugby," notes Basson.
Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of the Lions Rugby Company, says: "We started this programme as there is a gap in the market to teach players all-rounded skills while playing professional rugby. We believe that this programme will equip junior players with the skill set that they can use beyond their rugby career, and offer players an opportunity to integrate their skills into the workplace with some of our strategic partners."
It is essential that the skills taught in this course assist in the business world. Therefore, emphasis will be placed on subjects like soft skills and life skills, as well as leadership, presentations skills, how to manage time and stress, resolving conflict and building media relations. The Learning Hub will also teach computer literacy, entrepreneurial and business skills, maths literacy and basic economics and business administration.
The programme will be presented and managed by Bytes People Solutions, a division of Altron. While the duration of each course is 16 months, these will be overlapped, with a new group of 25 participants starting annually from 2017 until 2020. The training for the programme will take place at the Emirates Lions Stadium in a fully equipped classroom that has been installed for this purpose.
"Xerox is proud to be able to invest in the personal development and long-term futures of 75 GLRU players. We already know that they have incredible talent on the sports field. Our aim now is to help them to develop a similarly great set of skills to see them through the rest of their lives as well," Basson concludes.