PFA Charity Assistant Director of Education Oshor Williams on the value of the course to players past and present.

When PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor pledged support for the first On the Board pilot programme in 2013, he suggested that I undertake the course as this would enable me to evaluate the value and impact of the initiative.

As I took my place with the 14 other candidates comprising the first cohort, I wondered whether it would be possible to deliver on the aims and objectives outlined by Karl in his opening address. Six months later, having experienced Karl’s innovative delivery methods, I was left in no doubt about the effectiveness of the programme in preparing our members for future board and committee representation.

Following the positive impact of the pilot we have continued our support as main sponsors of the On the Board programme and it is hard to believe that 44 PFA members have already graduated from the course – with many progressing into areas of board and committee representation.

“Preparing players for future board and committee representation”

Our support also incorporates mentoring and study support for candidates throughout the course and my thanks go to my colleague Jason Lee and fellow graduate Michael Johnson for providing advice and guidance, sometimes on a one-to-one basis, to this year’s cohort.

I would also like to thank another former graduate Nathan Talbott for hosting study sessions in the Midlands – demonstrating the ongoing relationship with the programme that participants maintain even after completion.

Work still to be done...

The benefits of creating diverse boards are very clear. However, there is work to do in all sectors in maximising this potential and addressing some of the gaps in age, gender and ethnicity.

There is also more work to be done in progressing our graduates into boardroom and committee representation and we at the PFA Charity are grateful to all those organisations who have provided opportunities for members to develop their governance experience through such appointments and board observations.

This is vital if we are going to reap the rewards of the excellent training they experience on the On The Board course under Karl’s tutelage.

As a player it is not sufficient to merely train on a daily basis, it is also essential to gain match experience to apply skills to realistic situations and to be effective on the pitch.

So it is with corporate governance and the PFA Charity will continue to seek more opportunities for players to hone their skills and truly become Effective Board Members.