Jacob Ham first picked up a rugby ball at the age of 6, little did he know how many doors it would open for him or where it could take him.
Fast forward to now, and Jacob finds himself as the newest member of our sister company Hansen Filler as an executive search consultant, embarking on an exciting move to London and joining the National League Division 1 side, Esher.
We sat down to with Jacob to find out how he’s finding his career transition and whirlwind move to the city thus far!
To kick things off, could you tell us a little bit about you? Your sporting background and journey so far…
Sure! I was playing a lot of sports throughout my time at school, but decided I needed to focus on one as I was spending a lot of time travelling or training. So I chose rugby and it wasn’t long before I got picked up by the Worcester Warriors Academy. I started playing for their U18s side and progressed through to some of their A League Games before I headed off to uni.
I went to Loughborough where I studied Geography and I signed for a national club in the area. The plan before going was to play one full season of rugby, before transitioning over into rugby 7s because of the opportunity to play and travel was so appealing. However, I ended up breaking my leg in the April, and that really halted my plans on the spot.
So, was the decision to go to uni, something you’d made at the start of that year? Or was it more the injury setback that spurred you on to go?
No, I think uni was always the plan. I’ve always been heavily involved in sports and wanted to see how far I could take that in every sense, but I knew that getting a degree was important, just because it gave me the options to go wherever. I’m still playing sport now and the experiences it’s given me alongside my degree has helped me to get to where I am today, starting this new role.
Absolutely. What skills have you gained from rugby that are helping you now in career transition?
I think for me, it’s the ability to manage your time well. For example, if I had a Saturday game, I’d know throughout the week there’s certain things I needed to do, whether it’s to eat right, gym or get the training done. But at the same time, I didn’t want that to compromise any of my studies. So, it’s being able to prioritise your workload and manage your time effectively.
The life of a student-athlete does lend itself well to building time-management skills! After graduating, what next steps did you take?
The path I took post-university was a bit of an unconventional one. I signed with Chinnor, a national one side. I lived well over an hour away, so I needed to find a job to support myself. The coaches there knew that I had previous experience working my gap year at school, so they put me in touch with Ashfold School in Oxford, where I later became a P.E and Games Coach & boarding assistant.
What inspired the jump from that environment to the world of recruitment and the fast-paced life that working in the city brings?
I was living and working just outside of Oxford, and so I was only a stones throw from London where a lot of my friends were. I suppose for me, I had got quite comfortable working at the school, and had done it for a number of years. As I wasn’t qualified, I couldn’t really go any higher either. I wanted a new challenge and I want to be pushed. Recruitment is one of those industry’s where you get back what you put in. When I came across this executive search consultant role through TTP, they explained I’d still have the ability to play national one level rugby as the company provides athletes with flexibility. So, I’ve signed with new team Esher and now I have the best of both worlds in terms of a career I love, alongside pursuing my passion for rugby.
Are you confident that you’ll be able to balance a full-time role alongside your sporting commitments then?
Yeah absolutely – the company are very understanding of the commitments that come with being an athlete. As long as you’re on top of your workload they’re happy for you to leave early to get to training and elements of flexibility like that are really beneficial!
That’s great to hear! Lastly ,to wrap up, have you got any advice for athletes who may be in a similar position to what you were and embarking on their own career transition?
Keeping things simple, I think the best advice I can give is don’t stress about the process, and stay open minded to opportunities as things will work out in the end!
Thanks Jacob – a true TTP success story!