The RFL has appointed Jamie El-Kaleh to an important new role as Talent Inclusion Officer – linking the Talent Pathway Strategy to the Tackle It campaign which was relaunched last year.
Jamie’s Rugby League journey has included roles with Hull KR, Salford Red Devils and his hometown Warrington Wolves – he once teamed up with his brother Jason in the Wolves’ PDRL team – while he has also worked at Manchester City in their Youth Engagement programme.
Although Jamie grew up in Warrington, Rugby League was not a focus for the El-Kaleh family, whose Egyptian heritage led to a closer interest in football – until the touring Kiwis visited his school, Thelwall Junior, during the 2004 Tri-Nations to perform the haka.
“I’d come from a football background but that made a big impression on me and our whole family,” he explains.
“Since then I’ve really enjoyed my time working with Warrington, Salford and Hull KR. This is such an exciting opportunity to be part of a sport that I love, and to which I owe a lot. It’s something I’m massively passionate about, increasing equality, inclusivity and diversity. The exciting thing is it’s going to be giving people access to professional set-ups which they’ve not had before.”
Phil Jones, the RFL’s Talent Inclusion Manager – and a familiar name and face across the game through his previous work in Development and Performance with Warrington Wolves and London Broncos – said: “Jamie will work across our talent development programmes for boys and men, women and girls, and also for Wheelchair Rugby League, in line with the RFL’s Talent and Performance objectives and the Sport England Talent Plan.
“One of the targets we set ourselves with the relaunch of Tackle It last year was to develop world-leading inclusive talent development programmes. Jamie’s appointment is a key part of that.
“His goals are to assist in the development and creation of innovative programmes and projects to remove barriers and engage people from under-represented groups on the Talent Pathway – whether athletes, coaches, Match Officials, support staff or management.”