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Championship side announce new Youth & Academy director

Bradford Bulls have announced the appointment of a new Youth and Academy Director as they intend to continue producing talent, such as George Flanagan Jr who signed with Huddersfield Giants earlier this week.

The Bulls have announced Gareth Pickles as the man to oversee youth development and he joins them with 30 years’ of experience working in multiple fields but with a focus on organisation transformation.

With Bradford having already produced what Huddersfield described as “the hottest young talent in rugby league”, Pickles will be held to high expectations to continue the academy and player development successes.

In a statement posted on their website the Bulls announced the news.

“Bradford Bulls are delighted to announce the appointment of Gareth Pickles as Youth & Academy Director.

“Gareth has over 30 years’ experience of working across multiple industries with focus on driving customer and organisation transformation. With his senior board experience, front line leadership across multiple industries and proven successes all provide a real breadth and depth of capability to drive change and develop organisations.

“Gareth takes up the role on an Independent Youth & Academy Board as a Non-Executive Director, with key areas of focus being to support and advise the Bradford Bulls Youth & Academy team, supporting talent development and the broader operational and delivery capabilities.”

“I am delighted to be joining the Bradford Bulls in my role as Youth & Academy Director and help support Ryan [Hunkin] and the rest of the Academy staff/players in continuing to produce the next generation of talent,” said Gareth, following his appointment.

“Having spoken to Jason Hirst about the position, I felt I could really add value and it is clear to see that the Academy and its staff and players are hugely important to the club and it is great to see the Bradford Bulls continuing to invest in its Academy.

“I have a passion for Rugby League and developing talent so this is a fantastic opportunity for me to come work with the team.

“I will be supporting talent development but also advising on any operational needs and delivery whilst helping continue to build a strong youth culture, adding to the previous success the club has enjoyed to help build for the future.”

Ryan Hunkin, Bradford Bulls’ Head of Youth said:

“I am excited to have Gareth on board as Youth and Academy director, his wealth of experience in the world of organisational transformation will be extremely valuable as we look to attain our Elite Academy Status.

“Having spent some time getting to know Gareth, his passion and commitment and how that can support development within the Bradford District was evident to see.

“I look forward to working alongside Gareth in continuing the long success of developing talent in the Bradford area and beyond.”

CEO, Jason Hirst said:

“I am delighted to welcome Gareth to the club as our new Youth & Academy Director. It’s an important and vital role and it was imperative that we appointed someone with the necessary skills and experience.

“Having recently met Gareth for the first time, I was left in no doubt that he was the person for the role. He is another successful businessperson who wants to drive the club and specifically its Academy, forward on a voluntary basis.

“I look forward to him joining us after the Christmas and New Year break and making a positive difference.”

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