Horton scoops PCA award

Foxes star Paul Horton has won one of six Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) Personal Development Scholarship Awards in response to his dedication in preparing for life after cricket.

The 36-year old is loving his professional playing career, but with the PCA’s help, has been planning for the future in starting a Masters of Sport Directorship course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

He said: “I feel that I had been on the journey for a few years and dipped my toe in a number of things but had not found the right fit for me.

“I probably put all my eggs into cricket probably too much in my twenties and I started to think about Personal Development in my thirties as I was fortunate to play that long.

“A lot of these courses can be expensive, and I think that if you go through the experience by yourself then it is really hard to want to invest some of your hard-earned money straight into education.

“The Masters degree for instance is quite a hefty fee as well, so with the PCA’s help I would not have been able to go on that journey. It is extremely worthwhile.”

Throughout each calendar year PCA members take part in a wide range of personal development initiatives with over 87% of current players having their own Personal Development Plan.

The awards aim to highlight some of the best examples from across the membership in three categories: Newcomers, Current Players and Past Players.

PCA members were invited to complete an online application where they had to state which personal development they have achieved within the last 12 months, why they should win the award and if they did, where would they spend their money.

Shortlisted candidates were invited to Edgbaston to present to a panel, which consisted of PCA Chief Executive David Leatherdale, Director of Development and Welfare Ian Thomas, and Personal Development Managers Charlie Mulraine and Mark Wallace.

Interviewees were tasked with presenting their own thoughts and experiences of personal development and how it could be more widely encouraged before answering questions on their presentation.

Horton said: “I think the more that we can engage players at a younger age then I think it will help them, not only with their cricket but also with the chances of their transition being smoother into the real world after the game.

“We need to make cricketers better people, as well as better cricketers. I think it also helps with how you are just as a person and how you see that there are other things outside of the game.

“There is life after cricket and the world will go on outside of playing. That really helped me and I think that it will help a lot of young guys that put a lot of pressure on themselves.”

The Current Player award was shared between Horton and Durham’s Michael Richardson with the Foxes batsman enjoying many work experience opportunities.

Horton has had experience working at Urban Pulse Property, Cushman & Wakefield, the charity - Opening Up and is going to be an ambassador for Leicestershire based charity Hope Against Cancer.

He spoke on how important it is to become aware of what is available for players, current, past and present.

“It is crucial because I think that it is quite a worrying time for everybody - there is always a fear of leaving the game for lots of different reasons,” he said.

“I still have a fear even though that I have started putting things in place. You will miss certain parts of the game that you can’t replicate instantly outside of the game.

“So, how the PCA support you through that process is key and if we can support people through the process before they leave, I think puts them in better shape for when they do leave.”

Thomas thinks that the Scholarship Awards is a key component in the PCA’s activities to support players through their transition into a second career.

He said: “The Scholarship Awards is a great event in the annual calendar for our Personal Development and Welfare Programme.

It is a great opportunity to champion our members, both current and past players who have engaged in the Programme and crucially invested in themselves through their individual Personal Development Plans.

“All the winners have been brilliant and not only in their presentation but also in the open question and answer session.

The Scholarship Awards should encourage others to think of their own futures away from the field, it doesn’t matter how big of a step they are taking, any step is one forward to prepare for their future.”

* To find out more about the Personal Development & Welfare programme, click HERE