NEWS RELEASE Monday July 10, 2017
CFLPA President Jeff Keeping proud to announce partnership with Training Division Fire School
Written by Andrew Bucholtz:
Numerous CFL athletes have gone on to interesting post-playing careers, and the CFLPA is looking to smooth the way for those considering careers in firefighting or other emergency services. As part of a larger CFLPA Career Training Academy initiative started last year, the players’ association has now formed a partnership with Training Division Fire Academy to let members take certification courses (including level one and level two firefighter training) with a tuition reducing scholarship offered to each active member. CFLPA President Jeff Keeping said this was an ideal partnership for the players’ association, as Training Division’s courses work well with the CFL schedule and work for those pursuing employment in both the U.S. and Canada.
“One of the big pieces of this program is that the certification can be done online, over the course of a year, with the physical practicum offered in both Canada and the US during a two-week boot camp,” Keeping said. “The certification lasts for life and is recognized internationally which speaks to our entire membership. The online component allows our members to complete the courses around their hectic travel schedule, both in-season and out.
CFLPA Executive Director Brian Ramsay says that “The boot camps are offered in Ontario and Texas, two weeks at a time with the school guaranteeing our members seats during the limited time off during the offseason months. The program also works with the members right through to the interview stage, assisting with the process as well as details of what each specific province and state offer, i.e., compensation, benefits, job availability, et cetera.”
And it’s not just about those already looking to move on from football. Because this certification doesn’t expire, Ramsay said this can be a useful course for those just starting their CFL careers, and doing it early on can provide some extra chances to gain experience during the CFL offseason before trying to go into full-time work later.
Firefighting has already proven to be a viable career for some former CFL players, too, including Rob Murphy. Murphy, a two-time winner of the CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman Award who played for the B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts from 2006-2011 (and played in the NCAA, NFL, XFL and NFL Europe before that), is now a firefighter in St. Augustine, Florida. He said he wished he’d had the opportunity to participate in a program like this while playing.
“Absolutely, I do think it is a great thing for the membership and the CFLPA,” Murphy said. “My last year playing, my middle brother was a 14-year [firefighting] vet in Miami-Dade [County]. So I knew the direction I wanted to go, but at that time I was a fulltime dad. I was in a fortunate spot financially where I was able to take the 14 months to completed the certification once I finished my playing career. Basically you have to go to school once you are done for a full year. This program would allow you the opportunity to jump right into the career once your playing days are over. I wish this was offered and around for us when I was playing; it would have made a huge difference for me and my family.”
Murphy said this partnership is also impressive because it’s something that works for both Canadian and American players. He said it’s something that many players should seriously consider, as firefighting can be a great second career and this is an excellent way into it.
“The fact that it is a program that benefits the entire membership, both the Canadian and American players, that shows the strength of what the union is currently doing,” Murphy said. “If players do not choose to start taking advantage of programs such as these, it’s no one’s fault but theirs. These are programs that have not been offered before and are significant in assisting the players for careers that will last their lives.”
Another former CFL player who’s gone into firefighting is former Hamilton defensive back Sandy Beveridge, who played for the Tiger-Cats from 2003-2010. Beveridge has been a firefighter in the Hamilton area since retiring from the CFL, and he said he wishes this had been around when he was making that transition.
“This is great stuff the CFLPA is doing for the guys,” Beveridge said. “I wish this program was in place when I was transitioning from the game. Players have to realize the benefit that this will have for a career in firefighting once they are done playing.”
Beveridge also said he’s impressed with the partnership with Training Division, considering their excellent reputation.
“This is a great school – I have first-hand knowledge and experience with colleagues and teammates who are now firefighters in both Canada and the US,” he said. “Throughout my career experiences in firefighting, I know this program well and the players will be getting a great education.”
More information on Training Division’s courses can be found on their website, trainingdivision.com.