This summer we’re all about switching things up and putting career satisfaction first. Whether you’re looking for better work-life balance or you just want to follow your passion for educating young people, there are so many reasons to join the education sector and make a real difference. We sat down with Gregg McNally, who made the switch to work as an SEN mentor with Moxi’s partner training school and now works as a Deputy Manager, supporting the leadership team. Here’s what he had to say about making the switch:

Tell us about your rugby career before switching to education

I’ve played rugby my whole life. I signed my first professional contract when I was 16 years old. I really enjoyed it, it was an interesting career and I met lots of different people every day but unfortunately, Rugby League doesn’t last forever. It’s still a big part of my life though, I play for Rochdale Hornets outside of work.

Why did you decide to go into education?

One day I was at a sportsman’s dinner, and when someone asked what my plans were after rugby, I said, “I want to be a PE teacher”.  My mother-in-law who worked at Manchester College as teacher trainer was in the crowd and she encouraged me to pursue a career in education. So, I decided to look into it.

In 2020, due to Covid, the rugby season got cut short and everyone was locked down at home. I was at that point in my career where I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was still waiting for a contract from my rugby club which dragged on until October, so I tried to move clubs and found an opportunity at Ottawa in Canada but again, due to Covid, that fell through. It came to November, and I had no job or club, so I went on LinkedIn found a role in education through Moxi.

What do you enjoy most about working in education?

Definitely the relationships I’ve built with the students. There’s one student who initially wouldn’t engage in any lessons, he was very disruptive and didn’t want to do any work, but I was determined to change his attitude. So, I invested more one-to-one time working with him and now he’s completed all of his GCSEs and even comes in for extra revision sessions. At the beginning he wouldn’t even sit in a classroom, and we had to do home visits, now his attendance has massively improved and he’s doing so well. Even when he has a bit of a wobble, he feels comfortable coming to me, and we can work through it together.

What kind of transferable skills did you gain as a sportsman that have benefitted you as a Deputy Manager?

The older I got as a rugby player, the more responsibility I took on within my team. With that, my confidence grew especially in public speaking when I was at big events with fans. This has been particularly useful in my current role as a Deputy Manager as its more of a leadership role. I also really enjoyed the routine of being a rugby player and I feel like I get that from working in a school with our timetables because we know exactly what we’re doing, when and who with each day. It helps me mentally being aware of the plan and being able to prepare in advance for the week ahead.