Rugby Football Union case study

Change-makers in focus

Enabling a culture of growth and change through L&D

How we help:

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) collaborated with Hult EF Corporate Education to co-design and deliver a development program for its Constituent Bodies’ (CBs) volunteer leaders. The program’s aim was to maximize volunteers’ personal skills and attributes and ensure they could apply their enhanced leadership skills to drive lasting change within their RFU and professional roles.

Rugby Football Union case study

Encouraging rugby, and its values, to flourish across England

The RFU is the national governing body for grassroots and professional rugby in England, with 2,000 autonomous rugby clubs in its membership. The clubs are grouped within 35 Constituent Bodies (CBs), made up of counties; the three armed forces; Oxford and Cambridge Universities; England Rugby Football Schools' Union; and England Students. The RFU employs around 500 paid staff and helps to train and support more than 60,000 volunteers.

Rugby Football Union case study quote
“By managing the game efficiently and effectively, CBs can support clubs to deliver activity that meets their needs through transparent planning and decision making.”

Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director, RFU

The Challenge

The RFU identified an underinvestment in voluntary leaders providing support at county level, which placed volunteers under great pressure and led to burnout.

They also recognized a lack of opportunity for Constituent Bodies (CBs) to maximize the potential of the RFU, which required a transformation of leadership support at CB level. This meant exploring factors such as internal politics, managing change and impact on others, and offering CB leaders an opportunity for self-reflection.

The RFU partnered with Hult EF on a transformational journey to implement a custom program that would reflect the complex nature of local sports administration and governance in the unique context of a rugby union, while meeting the development needs of CB leaders to create lasting change in the RFU of the future.

In this case study, we explore how effective volunteer leadership development helped drive impactful change and shape rugby at county level.

Rugby Football Union case study industry

Building better leaders to drive lasting change

Our impact

Since the program launched, Constituent Body leaders report being more focused, strategic, and confident in their leadership; connecting and collaborating better through an independent network of CB leaders; resilient when facing challenges and willing to drive change; and increasingly influential, vocal, and engaged at a local and national level. By investing in current and future CB leaders, the RFU has realized its ambition of growing and strengthening each local rugby club and laid the foundation work for achieving many of its priorities in its current and future Strategic Plan.

Empowered leaders, encouraging change

The program has created an empowered volunteer leadership team equipped with the relevant skills to influence and drive lasting county-level change within rugby.

Success beyond the RFU

Participants can apply their learnings to their work with the RFU and apply enhanced leadership skills to their professional careers – creating a domino effect of success.

Empowered leaders, encouraging change

The program has created an empowered volunteer leadership team equipped with the relevant skills to influence and drive lasting county-level change within rugby.

Success beyond the RFU

Participants can apply their learnings to their work with the RFU and apply enhanced leadership skills to their professional careers – creating a domino effect of success.

See our work in action

We have helped more than 3,000 organizations, from large multinational companies, to governments, to public sector businesses, to charities. Our capacity to deliver customized programs at scale makes us the provider of choice for global businesses and governments.

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