Rhodri graduates from UCLan in first step towards teaching dream
A former Wigan Warriors player has swapped his rugby ball for a graduation gown as he follows his dream to inspire the next generation by training as a teacher.
Rhodri Lloyd, who signed for Wigan in 2012 and spent time on loan at London Broncos and Widnes Vikings before officially becoming a Swinton Lions player in 2016, has completed a degree in sports studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and will begin a one-year teacher training course in September.
The Welsh international and Swinton captain juggled training and playing commitments with a full-time degree at UCLan because he felt inspired to work with young people and pass on his sporting experience.
"I’ve had an amazing career so far and representing Wales in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup has got to be one of the highlights, even though I had to skype my university tutors to make sure the work didn’t pile up."
Rhodri, 25, said: “I’ve always liked coaching alongside playing and I wanted to explore this interest further. As part of my studies at UCLan I’ve taken work placements in several schools and now want to become a PE teacher. Being a professional sports person involves many highs and lows and I feel I have a lot of experience to share with the next generation.
“I’ve had an amazing career so far and representing Wales in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup has got to be one of the highlights, even though I had to skype my university tutors to make sure the work didn’t pile up. I’ve had to be very disciplined to manage playing with studying, but it’s been worth it.”
Rhodri originally hails from Caerphilly in South Wales but has lived in Orrell, Standish and now in Hindley since swapping codes from union and league and relocating to the North West in 2012.
“It was daunting moving so far away from home when I was only 17 but I’ve always been made to feel very welcome in Wigan and now my girlfriend Bethan has also settled up here with me” he said. “Obviously rugby in Wales is predominately union but I think representing my country in any code is an absolute honour and wearing the three feathers on your chest is always a source of pride for any Welsh person.”
Before he begins teacher training, Rhodri will also co-host a summer camp for youngsters at Swinton Lions; an idea that sprung up from a research project he completed as part of his studies.
The back-row centre said: “We want kids to have fun and feel inspired to enjoy rugby league. It’s all about opening the club up to a younger audience of fans and making the club very much part of the local community.”
Rhodri will begin his teacher training course at Manchester Metropolitan in September and will be initially based at Up Holland High School. He graduated from UCLan this week alongside 3,500 other graduates.