GAA and GPA Development Programme

November 8, 2018

The GAA and Gaelic Players Association today announced the first phase of development programmes for inter-county players.

The programmes, in the areas of education, career training and health and well-being are part of a new player welfare service which is being implemented following last November’s interim agreement between the GPA and GAA.

The programmes are designed to assist players with their careers off the field to help support their commitment to Gaelic games at inter-county level.

This is the first stage in the new player welfare scheme with a number of further player development programmes coming on stream throughout 2010.
Funding for the programmes is being provided by the GAA as part of the provisions of the interim agreement with the GPA approved by Central Council last December.

A motion to recognise the GPA as the official representative body for inter-county players will be discussed at the GAA’s Annual Congress in Newcastle Co. Down in April.

Speaking about the launch of the player development programmes, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Críostóír Ó Cuana said: “The interim provisions of our agreement with the GPA provided funding for Welfare Programmes for inter county players and we are delighted to be in a position to unveil the first phase of these programmes today.

“There is no doubting the commitment given and sacrifices made by our players, particularly at inter county level, and the initiatives being launched today should serve to complement the considerable investment made by our County boards in terms of player welfare in recent years.

‘In many ways, it is an historic day for the Association and I believe it will be the beginning of a relationship which will help to copper fasten the principles of the Amateur Status and volunteerism in our games, through ensuring we provide in conjunction with the GPA, an unparalleled welfare service for our players.”

GPA Chief Executive Officer, Dessie Farrell added: “Today marks a giant step forward for player welfare. The future of the inter-county game and the GAA in general will be well served by these programmes, designed as they are to assist players with their careers off the field.

‘The contribution of amateur players as volunteers to the general wellbeing of the Association is enormous and it is vital for all of us that that commitment is nurtured and sustained into the future.

‘The aim of the development programmes is to make sure that players are not losing out in their careers due to their involvement in inter-county football and hurling and we are confident that by following best practice in the area of player welfare, we will achieve that aim with our strategy.”

Each programme, designed and administered by the GPA, is subject to an agreed evaluation process carried out by the GAA in advance of and subsequent to the expenditure of funds.

Funding for the programmes will be provided under the terms of the interim agreement.

GPA Player Development Programmes
The first phase will include:
1. Career Service
2. Job Interview Skills
3. Educational Advice
4. Scholarships
5. Personal Counselling
6. Referee Defibrillator Training
7. Benevolent Fund

The GPA Career Service is aimed at improving employment and career prospects for players by providing them with expert advice and support in looking for work.
The service, which offers one-to-one access to a leading career coach, will help equip job applicants with the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to search for a job effectively.
The areas covered are: career direction, CV preparation and interviewing techniques, job searching and networking. There will be a follow-up support structure by telephone and email for all Career Service candidates.
A specific Job Interview Skills programme will provide individuals with the essential skills to maximise the potential for success in interview situations.
The GPA Educational Advice Programme includes a dedicated Educational and Training Advice Service which provides players with access to skilled professionals who can deliver advice and support in relation to approved educational and training courses.
The educational programme will also include an enhanced Scholarship scheme to help support inter-county players financially with the challenge of balancing the competing demands of their on and off field careers. Scholarships will be aimed at players who are in or entering education courses and those seeking to return to education.
In the area of Health and Wellbeing, a GPA Personal Counselling Service will now be in place.
This important service will provide players with access to skilled, experienced psychologists who can provide support for individuals concerned about emotional issues. Also in the area of Health and Wellbeing a Referee Defibrillator Training Programme is to be introduced to provide inter-county referees with the ability to operate defibrillators.
As well as this first tranche of services, the GPA Benevolent Fund will provide critical support to players and past players who fall on hard times. The Fund will help applicants who are experiencing serious personal problems.
Past inter-county players will have an opportunity to avail of all relevant GPA Player Development Programmes. The GPA is establishing a Past Players Advisory Group to address issues arising for retired inter-county players. This Group will help shape key GPA policy in this area and assist the process of tailoring specific programmes for past players.