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Player associations across Europe to study the Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme

Player associations across Europe to study the Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme

The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme is being held up as a best-in-class example of how players’ unions can encourage leadership and also balance between the dual careers of their members.  Other players’ bodies right across Europe are now studying the programme to learn from it and adapt elements of it to suit the particular needs to their members.

PROLead is a collaborative partnership project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by European Elite Athletes Association (EU Athletes) which represents over 25,000 elite athletes across Europe and the UK.  Focusing on the topic of dual careers of athletes, the project aims to enhance leadership skills of athletes, as well as volunteers and staff of player associations, by designing and implementing leadership courses at European and national level.

As a part of PROLead project, EU Athletes in cooperation with all partners, will design and deliver European Leadership Course for player associations staff and volunteers. The course has been developed based on academic research and literature review of leadership education for athletes, partners input, and following the example of the Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme.

The first phase of the PROLead project gets underway today (Thursday, January 28th) and will take place online through until May.

Speaking about the start of the programme, Eamonn Murphy, Gaelic Players Association Player Representation Manager said; “The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme has long been one of the GPA’s flagship offerings to players. The programme predominantly focusses on identifying transferable skills that players already developed as elite athletes and adapting those same skills to other areas of their lives while enhancing their contribution to their communities. Many of our graduates over the past seven years have since established themselves as important leaders in business, sport and their communities. We are delighted to be working alongside EU Athletes to help shape how a similar programme can be developed and delivered for other athletes across Europe.”

Paulina Tomczyk, EU Athletes General Secretary commented; “PROLead project allows the player associations to learn from each and exchange good practices on leadership education, which will ultimately improve the support and services they offer to their members. It’s a great opportunity to cooperate with the Gaelic Players Association and benefit from their experience with the successful Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme to achieve this goal.”

The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme, which is in its seventh year, has been developed specifically with inter-county players in mind.  The tailored programme sees students paired with a professional life coach with whom they work to enhance their personal leadership capabilities. Participants gain skills which they can draw on in their personal, sporting and professional lives which can be harnessed both for their personal development and for the benefit of the community.

The programme has been made possible through the support of Michael Madden and his family who have dedicated this programme and curriculum to the memory of their late father Jim, who was a tireless grassroots GAA and community activist in Tipperary.

Over 170 male and female inter-county players have taken part in the programme since its inception.


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