Real Tennis

Investing in Professionals (IiP)

Investing in Professionals (IiP)

‘Attract, Recruit, Train and Retain’

The Investing in Professionals programme offers an opportunity for sports people to secure an enjoyable and financially stable long-term career in Real Tennis. This is achieved by combining a nationally recognised apprenticeship with business, commercial and Real Tennis skills.

IiP Vaughan Hamilton
Vaughan Hamilton as IiP Apprentice

IiP aims to match the rate of development and achievement of each professional trainee in both on-court and off-court Real Tennis skills and provide the trainee with transferable business skills. Each level of accredited experience is commensurate with an expected range of remuneration. IiP will assess each trainee at the outset, to allow each individual to focus on the areas where they are most in need of development. Every trainee will be required to pass Level 1 to demonstrate a base level of competence required to work within a Real Tennis Club. Once Level 1 is achieved, they can then progress through additional levels.

Each level of attainment (Level 1, 2 or 3) is reached by assessment with consideration given to recognised prior learning and/or experience. Attaining these skills will give the professional the expertise to be able to manage a Real Tennis Club (or any other sports club), as well as to coach and train players, from novice and club members to trainee and top professionals. The professional will also have acquired sufficient skills at each level of training to be a desirable candidate for other career paths outside Real Tennis.

Who Can Apply to IiP and How Is the Application Made?

The IiP is a career option for athletes with a track record of excellence in sports. Candidates will be people who understand the dynamics of sport and can apply their knowledge and skills. Although this is an employment opportunity, it is essential that potential applicants are able to learn and master the game of Real Tennis. In line with playing the game, applicants will become an integral team member of a club which will involve all aspects of working within a sports management environment.

Emphasising the inclusive objectives of IiP, all new trainees are encouraged to join the programme as apprentices. Access to the programme can be made through a number of entry paths depending on the age and training already undertaken by the individual trainee.

Existing professionals are also encouraged to join the programme to in-fill any skills they require and to achieve IiP accreditation.

The official, full-length Investing in Professionals material is available below, as is the link to the application form.

The Success of Investing in Professionals To Date

Historically, Real Tennis has managed to retain a large percentage of professionals throughout the entirety of their careers. Sadly, the sport is currently in a position where up to one third of the 42 full and part time UK pros will be retiring in the next decade. The IiP aims to fill this gap and guarantee the future of our beloved sport by attracting and training the next generation of professionals – and so far, the programme has been a phenomenal success.


Tranche 1 started in April 2021 when Jack Josephs joined MURTC. Two further apprentices, Alex Machin (Wellington) and Jim Ludekens (Cambridge) joined the scheme in August and September 2021 respectively, while Nat Cherry (Oratory) started in February 2022.


Tranche 2 officially started in August 2022 with Tim Armstrong joining Petworth to commence his training. Jack Jospehs completed his apprenticeship at MURTC and found a permanent job at RTC as a full-time Assistant Professional.

Jim Ludekens continued to progress at Cambridge and enthused, "I've had lots of coaching and practice time which is key for me to improve. The variety of tasks makes the job fun."

Nat Cherry moved to MCC for the second half of his training.

Meanwhile, five senior professionals completed their log books and were accredited via prior learning to Level 2.

Alex Machin joined Radley as a full-time Assistant professional in September.


As of September, 18 professionals have achieved their level 2* accreditation, with three IiP graduates at level 1.

Nat Cherry started in September as the Assistant Professional at Canford, and Jim Ludekens started a one-year contract at Cambridge before moving to Oxford to provide temporary cover. Tim Armstrong started at Seacourt in October.


For the first time there are four IiP Apprentices in the programme. Alex Hume at MCC; Nick Jamieson at Leamington; Vaughan Hamilton at Prested; and James Medlow at Petworth.

All initial IiP graduates are currently employed as Assistant Professionals around the UK.

The IiP programme will now start to focus on providing training opportunities for current professionals.

Who Runs the IiP Programme?

Operation of the Investing in Professionals programme is delivered through the partnership of Sport Structures and the T&RA, supervised by a panel selected from the Tennis community, under the guidance of David Watson, IiP Chairman. Over 45 volunteers have also been involved in producing the programme, which is now run by the Operational Continuous Improvement Panel (OCIP).

The headline tasks are identified with the following individuals, supported by a great number of professionals and other Club representatives too numerous to list here:

Training, Assessment & Accreditation

  • Ross Szabo (Sport Structures)
  • Chris Bray
  • James Coley

Programme Administration

  • Chris Davies (T&RA)

Recruitment, Selection & Retention

  • Steve Brewerton
  • Josh Smith

Host Club Liaison

  • David Watson
  • Simon Mansfield
  • Rob Fahey


  • Josh Farrall
  • Paul Weaver


  • Carl Snitcher
  • Johnny Saunders

Financial Compliance

  • John McVittie

Where Does the Money for IiP Come From?

The IiP programme is delivered at a cost to the Tennis Community of approximately £100,000 p.a. The T&RA is currently underwriting 75% of the salaries of the trainees via bursaries and has borne just over 50% of the total costs overall. The Real Champions Club is also a major sponsor along with a voluntary court levy. In the first year grants were received from The Dedanists’ Foundation, The Dedanists’ Society and the Ladies Association.

The T&RA are the major stakeholders, supported by the IRTPA. There has been a remarkable fund raising effort by the Funding Panel (led by Carl Snitcher), establishing the Real Champions Club, persuading other stakeholders (the Dedanists' Foundation, the Dedanists' Society and the LTRA) to contribute, as well as many clubs via a court levy contribution.

We aim to make the IiP programme cost-neutral to the participating Clubs, which can only be achieved with additional support from T&RA members and Benefactors. If you would like to contribute to the Investing in Professionals programme, please contact the T&RA or visit All donations will be gratefully received and will help ensure that Real Tennis continues to thrive.

We’d also like to give a special thanks to the IiP programme facilitator, John Whiting, for his extraordinarily patient and productive effort.

More Information

Additional information on the programme can be found via the official Investing in Professionals website.