Working together










The award-winning wealth management company, St. James’s Place Wealth Management, has been a valued strategic partner of Switch the Play since 2018.


It was thanks to two former sports professionals – Rugby League player Ewan Dowes and Rugby Union player James Grindal – that the partnership first came about. Post their rugby playing days, both are now enjoying successful careers at St. James’s Place whilst also working with Switch the Play to share their experiences of life outside of sport with other athletes. The two, having recognised how transferrable the skills of sportspeople are to the world of business and knowing how St. James’s Place could really help athletes plan for their retirement, approached Switch the Play to see how they could work together to make a real difference.


From Sport to Finance: Transferrable Skills


St. James’s Place has first-hand experience of the highly desirable and transferrable skills athletes have. Over 70 former sports professionals are qualified financial planners across their network of Partners (click here to see videos of ex-professional athletes Callum and Rowena talking about their career transition pathway).


Dowes left the world of Rugby League with no plan and having successfully transitioned out of rugby into the financial sector with only a couple of A-Levels to his name, he’s delighted that St. James’s Place, where he is now an Appointed Representative running his own financial planning and wealth management business, is helping others plan for their futures. “As a commodity, we are valuable,” he says about professional athletes. “With the traits we accrue as sportspeople, businesses would give anything to have a candidate like that. But a lot of athletes are blinkered and just look at their sport. There’s so much more out there, it’s about making them aware of that.”


Thanks to the partnership between St. James’s Place and Switch the Play, more athletes are now being made aware of the importance of preparing for their retirement as well as what career opportunities are available in financial services, including the career change programme offered by the St. James’s Place Academy. Their Academy provides a career route into financial planning and wealth management.


Subsidised Masterclasses and Financial Wellbeing


Since joining forces with Switch the Play, St. James’s Place has sponsored subsidised places allowing athletes to attend a range of Switch the Play Masterclasses to help them prepare for life outside of sport. In addition, to date over 200 athletes, including players from several Super League rugby teams, have attended the incredibly popular Financial Wellbeing Educational Masterclass, co-created by both organisations and delivered by experts from St. James’s Place alongside the Switch the Play team.


The feedback from these sessions has been first-class. “Financial wellbeing plays such an integral part of an athlete’s holistic care. Planning both for the future and present day provides peace of mind and satisfaction within a sport as unpredictable as Professional Rugby League,” said Steve Hardisty, Huddersfield Giants RFL Player Welfare Manager. “The Financial Wellbeing Masterclass provides the players with relevant extensive bespoke information on key areas such as budgeting, saving and investment planning alongside providing them with a range of helpful and practical advice.”


Thanks to St. James’s Place’s support of these Masterclasses, Switch the Play is able to subsidise the cost for clubs, and hopes this will incentivise more sports organisations to educate their professional athletes in this important aspect of their long-term wellbeing outside of sport.


Click here for more information about the Financial Wellbeing Educational Masterclasses.






Specialist brokers in the oil and gas sectors, Oil Brokerage Ltd is a valued partner of Switch the Play, working alongside the organisation on a first-class programme to train and up-skill elite athletes.


Established in 1989, Oil Brokerage’s fast-paced, energetic and competitive environment is an attractive workplace for individuals who enjoy the camaraderie of working as part of a competitive team which places an importance on friendship and hard work. For this reason, the company recognises the benefits of hiring former sports professionals. The focus of their programme with Switch the Play is on preparing athletes for life outside of sport and increasing their awareness of potential career opportunities, including with Oil Brokerage itself.


Record of Recruiting Athletes

Oil Brokerage has a strong track-record in recruiting talent from the world of professional sport. Former Harlequins player turned oil broker Ryan O’Neil is the driving force behind the partnership with Switch the Player, while JP O’Reilly, Oil Brokerage’s Performance Director, is a former professional rugby player for Leicester and Sale and until 2018 the manager of Saracens. In the latter role, JP invested a huge effort into developing his players away from the pitch, recognising the performance benefits to the players.


Transferable Skills

Through the partnership, Oil Brokerage generously subsidises places on Switch the Play masterclasses and speak to athletes about transferrable skills. In these sessions, Oil Brokerage highlight the many employable traits athletes already have but that perhaps they haven’t yet recognised as being transferable to a career in business. Elite athletes have a particular skill set that appeals to the corporate world – competitive, ability to work in a team, dedicated – and the Oil Brokerage team showcase how these attributes can lead to a successful second career once the sporting one comes to an end.


Job Opportunities

Oil Brokerage are keen to employ former professional athletes and through the partnership will be running recruitment drives. JP said: “Working with Switch the Play we hope to increase the awareness of Oil Brokerage as a potential post-athletic career employment route with the aim of selectively recruiting former athletes who have undergone Switch the Play education or mentoring.”


If you’re interested in career opportunities at Oil Brokerage or finding out about any of our masterclasses please email Switch the Play.


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