As the principal partner of the Bristol Bears Academy, we are supporting young players through our newly established internship programme.

Our first intern, Harry Rowson, is a lively centre who was part of the Academy U18 side that reached the 2019/20 Premiership Finals Day and is relishing the opportunity to learn from industry experts both on the field and in the office. At just 18, Harry recently featured in the friendly clashes against Ealing Trailfinders, and is one of the club’s inaugural scholars – an additional group of players, working with the professional staff, while also exploring external career opportunities.

“Training with the first team has been really good – there’s a lot of content to learn though, so it’s been hard to fit into it, but week on week it’s getting easier and easier and you get more and more reps, which is good, but it’s a lot to take in,” he said.

“A few weeks ago, we were watching on TV and now we’re in training with them all, eating lunch with them, so it’s amazing to be involved. They do all they can to help us out, but at the same time, it’s hard for them because they are playing a match on the weekend, so they’ve got to do their thing as well. We learn from each other as Academy boys.

“It’s created challenges, balancing the professional rugby life with working for Xledger, but they’ve been really accommodating with last-minute scheduling. My own personal growth has been really good, challenging myself on and off the pitch, growing my mind as well.

“It takes me away from the rugby pitch – I don’t want to be constantly thinking about rugby 24/7, it’s quite a nice break from that and allows me to carry on being academic.

“Going forward, when I finish rugby, it’s what I want to go into and it’s a great experience to take out of it. I’m really grateful, it’s an unbelievable experience and not many people get to do this, so I’m a lucky boy.”

Ian Halliwell, Sales and Marketing Director at Xledger, said: “We understand the value that the Bristol Bears Academy brings to young people as individuals, which extends far beyond the game of rugby.

“Welcoming Harry into our organisation as part of Xledger’s internship programme has delivered a great outcome for all parties involved.

“We’re really proud to be playing a role in the club’s ongoing strategy to develop its young players both on and off the field.”

Watch Harry’s story here.