Having recently undertaken the PFA’s Beyond the 90 work placement program and been awarded the PFA’s Kimon Taliadoros Scholarship, in recognition of his outstanding efforts away from football, Chris Harold gives us an insight into how beneficial the players’ association support has been.

His pace on the pitch has tormented A-League players for almost six seasons. Off the pitch he is no slouch. Currently completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Law, Harold recently joined the likes of fellow members Nick Ward, Jason Hoffman and Leigh Broxham in undertaking the PFA’s Beyond the 90 program.

Aimed at providing invaluable work experience for players in any field they wish to pursue, the Glory forward undertook his placement with law firm Hall & Wilcox.

Designed to fit in with the demanding schedule of professional sport, Harold said the program had been invaluable.

“Last year I did one of the PFA’s LinkedIn workshops and afterwards I got in touch with the people who run the PFA’s Beyond the 90 program and they set me up with two firms and I went and chatted to both and I had to chose one. I think I made a really good choice with Hall & Wilcox and it was probably better than I anticipated, to be honest. The firm was so flexible with my training schedule.

From sitting in on informal conferences with clients, to undertaking follow-up calls and writing basic memos, Harold said the experience was a great opportunity as he looks to build on his studies.

“For me, I already have a sense of direction through my law studies, but I got to gain experience which is really important in law. For other people it could be good to explore a load of different areas to see what they might be interested in and if they do enjoy it they can look into it further. If you are going through this process by yourself it would be tough because of our schedules, so to have this all done for you and your situation explained before you even meet them is a big plus. Without this program it is pretty tough for players to get this type of experience.”

Anton Vucak, Partner-in-Charge Perth, Hall & Wilcox, said Chris had been a positive addition to the firm.

“Chris is keen and eager, and has a real interest in law, which we were delighted to help nurture. Chris is obviously a great team player and seemed to enjoy the experience of being part of a different type of team.

“‘On the job experience’ is important and relevant to every industry / sector. Academic or technical knowledge is only half the story; you also need to understand how to make it work practically, how it is currently being applied.

“We consider offering work experience an integral part of being in the business community. We also recognise that often elite athletes can’t do what they are doing now forever, and need to consider what options there are for their future.”

Having recently been awarded the PFA Kimon Taliadoros scholarship, Harold said the PFA’s continued support had been critical to pursuing his off field ambitions.

“It is great having the education funding as every bit really helps. It is hard for players when they are looking to do education outside of football as there is a cost, so when you get some support it really helps you and motivates you as you know you will be assisted.

“Robbie Gaspar (PFA Player Development Manager for Perth Glory) has been a great help for me as well as all the other players.

“These programs are fantastic and can help you find your way, as so many players just don’t know what is out there and the PFA can help you to look into all.”

For more information on the PFA Beyond the 90 program or Player Development Programs and services contact your Players Development Manager of the National Manager, Player Development Ben Robertson via ben@pfa.net.au.