The lifespan of a rugby player – whatever level you play at – is finite. Whether you are hanging up your boots altogether, transitioning to semi-professional, facilitating it as a hobby, a career post-rugby or to run alongside it, is crucial.

At Community Group, we are experienced in facilitating individuals who are either still playing or recently retired with the opportunity to harness a passion for supporting others in their community and build a career away from the rugby field.

What rugby can do for you is build connections and, with the right attitude, open doors for you. This has been the case for Seb Pattinson – our Community Rugby Coach at Fylde Rugby Community Foundation – who has recently progressed into a full-time role after only starting part-time in September 2022. We have invited him to talk about his journey, and how Community Group provided him with the platform to build a career.

The Story of Seb Pattinson

Further education is not the answer for everyone and when Seb finished school, college or university was not his desired pathway. Instead, he went straight into employment while he worked out what he wanted to pursue as a career – an unenviable task, but he found the answer within rugby union.

“I started playing rugby at school when I was 16 – a late age compared to most – and straight away I fell in love with it completely,” he said.

“After school, I was a bit lost in terms of job-wise. I worked a few jobs, didn’t fancy going to university and one of my mates, Alex (Carson) works for Community Group at the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation and I asked him one day about how he was getting on. I saw it as an opportunity and reached out to Phill Mills (Foundation Manager at Fylde Rugby Community Foundation) and it just moved on from there.

“It’s been great so far, especially now I am full-time. I am delivering more and getting more experience under my belt.”

Making a difference

Seb grew up in Garstang, Lancashire, and attended Kirkham Grammar School.

He currently plays as a winger/centre for Fylde and while he has made clear his love for rugby, it seems coaching has definitely piqued his interest.

“The best part of the job is definitely delivering to different schools and just being able to help children improve,” said the 19-year-old.

“When you see them do something great, you give them praise and it makes a big difference to their day.”

He added: “Going full-time, it’s been great. I’m a lot happier that I get to do this every day throughout the day.

“There’s a good mix especially with the variety of community programmes we deliver and that makes every day different, which is also probably one of my favourite things about the job.”

Learning Fast

Seb has most certainly had to learn on the job and learn quickly, but here at Community Group we ensure everyone, no matter their experience is supported.

“When I first started, I wouldn’t say I was lost, but unsure of delivery,” he said.

“But it’s been great to learn and develop my own coaching style. Sometimes children can be difficult when you’re working with them, but I’ve learnt how to overcome this and deal with different situations.

“Everyone at the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation and Community Group has been really helpful.

“It’s also good that I already knew Alex and Corey (Bowker) from school, so it was great that I was jumping into an environment where I knew people and I was comfortable with them. They are always happy to help if I am struggling and will take the time to explain things in detail.”

Community Group specialise in aiding the enrichment, well-being and health of our communities through wide-ranging and exceptional opportunities. If you would like to know more about Community Group, please click HERE.