No matter what stage in your career you are at, losing a contract and moving into a period of transition is never easy. I was not the first to experience it, and I most certainly will not be the last. For me the most difficult aspect was the uncertainty of what the future may hold. Having watched various trialists being ‘used and abused’ over the years in the county 2nd XI system, I decided fairly early on that I did not want to go down that route and having not been involved in the Scotland set up for a period of time, another playing contract was unlikely.
Luckily, in the same summer that I lost my contract, I also graduated with a degree in Finance and Economics which I had been working towards during the previous four off seasons. My parents were (and still are) always incredibly supportive of my cricket, but simultaneously always stressed upon the importance of having a ‘back-up plan’. Initially, I viewed university as a time filler while I was rehabbing from one of my many injuries, but as I moved into my final two years I became increasingly engaged with the material and began looking into possible options with a post-cricket career in mind.
This is where the SCA were instrumental in helping to determine the path I would eventually take. It was through Ally Evans that I first became aware of Tilney, a financial services company specialising in financial planning and investment management. Ally had received an invite on behalf of the SCA to an Investment Seminar in Tilney’s Glasgow office, and knowing the crossover with my degree asked if I would be interested in going along. It was at this seminar that I met Dougie Lockhart, who I am sure many of you will know is a former Scottish Cricketer who is now an Investment Manager and Director with the firm, whilst also sitting on the board of Cricket Scotland.
I kept in touch with Dougie following the seminar, meeting for a coffee every now and again in Glasgow to chat all things cricket. We decided that it would be a good idea for me to come into the office and do some work experience when time allowed, as I was clearly interested in investment and it was highly correlated with my studies, especially my dissertation. My departure from Durham later that summer, and not being involved in Scotland’s squad for the T20 qualifiers in October, provided the perfect window to get some work experience under my belt.
Dougie and his colleagues were great when I came into the office, so much so that after my two weeks of work experience it was clear to me that this was an avenue I would like to pursue further. I was fortunate enough that there happened to be an assistant investment manager going on maternity leave, opening an opportunity for me to join the firm for three months in January 2020 as maternity cover, with the aim of assisting the investment managers in the lead up to the tax year end.
I am now happy to say that I am a permanent employee of Tilney after joining on a permanent basis last summer. I am currently studying the Investment Advice Diploma, the first step in what will hopefully result in membership to the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment. So far it has been a great match. Even though there wasn’t much in the way of cricket last summer given the current state of the world, the benefits of having a line manager in Dougie, who understands the challenges of balancing a career with high performance sport, is already apparent. Hopefully there are a few more years to come where I will need to balance work life with cricket as I still believe I have something to offer for Scotland.
Although this was not the result of a direct partnership between the SCA and Tilney, it nevertheless underpins the SCA’s role in member development and welfare. In its infancy, the work being done by the SCA to develop a network for its members is invaluable, and hopefully there will be more players who will be lucky enough to benefit from the opportunities that arise from this network (as I have done) in the years to come.