September 25, 2012

BMW and the RFU launch the BMW Performance Academy

BMW and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced a ground-breaking partnership to develop the future talent of English rugby - the BMW Performance Academy which will be part of the RFU National Academy Programme.

An initial pool of more than 30 players
has been selected by the England coaches for the BMW Performance Academy from across the existing elite age-grade development programme (U16, U18 and U20), and those aged over 20 close to breaking into the senior squad.

Based on their considered potential to graduate to the elite England team, members of the BMW Performance Academy will receive tailored support to help them progress. The player, club coach and the RFU will work together to create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to ensure that the key skills required for that particular individual are specially developed. The close relationship with the club coach in the development of this plan is very important to its success and a vital component to ensure a consistent training approach.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, who has overseen the development of English players over the last four years in his role as RFU Head of Elite Player Development, said, "The BMW Performance Academy will help equip our promising young players with the skills needed to succeed at the highest level. We're working hard in conjunction with their club coaches to give them the individual support they need both on and off the pitch as we work towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and beyond."

In addition, this innovative partnership will see BMW, the official vehicle supplier to England Rugby, working with the RFU to bring specific expertise using its people, facilities and knowledge to provide a programme including:
Personal Development Training: Home to BMW Group UK's own internal staff training programme, its facility at Wokefield Park, near Reading, provides modules that will be adapted specifically for young players, including personal management, team work, leadership, innovation and resilience. This will include specific elements run by members of the BMW Executive Board drawing parallels between attitudes needed to succeed in sport and work.

BMW Ambassador Mentors: BMW will facilitate the sharing of expertise and skills held by the array of BMW ambassadors, Olympians, TV personalities and industry leaders to impart knowledge to Academy members on a range of topics, starting with London 2012 gymnast Louis Smith on the art of 'Coping with Pressure'.

Responsible driving training: BMW will support players with high-level training in safe and responsible driving. For those under 17, BMW will offer access to the BMW Young Driver Programme which trains children aged 12 and upwards to drive in an entirely safe environment.

Work experience: BMW will offer members of the new Academy a variety of work experience opportunities across its factories, dealerships and other businesses in the UK, to help deliver wider life skills.

"This partnership with the RFU is an exciting next step in our sports involvement after London 2012. I am delighted that the creation of the BMW Performance Academy will truly help to nurture and develop the England rugby stars of the future. We are determined to use the people, facilities and knowledge at our disposal to help make a tangible difference to English rugby," said Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW Group UK.

"It will be a proud day for us all when our first graduate wins his England cap and we hope even represents his country at a Rugby World Cup."

Sophie Goldschmidt, RFU Chief Commercial Officer, said, "This is an exciting long-term partnership that will see BMW invest across the game, from the age grade sides to the England elite squad. BMW is already bringing innovative ideas on how to share its expertise from the worlds of sport and business, to benefit the future of the English rugby."


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