From Coleg Gwent to Dragons Rugby - meet alumnus Jonathan Westwood

20 April 2022

Introducing Jonathan Westwood, Head of Commercial at Dragons Rugby and a proud Coleg Gwent sports alumnus. Jonathan studied his BTEC National in Sport and Leisure at Crosskeys Campus between 1987 – 1989 and has since led an exciting career in the worlds of rugby and business. His current role with Dragons Rugby combines his two passions and has brought Jonathan full circle back to working with the college where his career began.

Jonathan’s story

Tell us about your time at Coleg Gwent when you studied BTEC Sport.

“I studied my O Levels at Coleg Gwent, and my ongoing love of sport made my next choice very easy to make. The BTEC Sport course was the first of its kind in the area and was very appealing to me. The fact I could combine my studies with sport helped me establish myself in the rugby community. The opportunity to focus on sport in a different environment from school was a positive.

My time at the college gave me a solid start and transition into adult and working life – any good business is based on the relationships in place, and I learnt much of this from my early days at Crosskeys Campus. It’s a great facility which appears to be improving all the time. The sports courses have significantly improved since my time at college too, being driven by a strong and committed management team in the background.”

Tell us about your career and what you’ve done since leaving college.

“After leaving college, rugby was and still is a huge part of my life and career. I joined Newbridge RFC where I gained honours for Wales Youth, U21s, and National Squad member, alongside competing in the Heineken National League. In conjunction with this, I began employment as an Account Manager for Welsh Brewers.

After leaving Newbridge RFC, I spent three years at Newport RFC and a further season at Cardiff and then Neath. I also represented Monmouthshire Union against Australia (who were current World Champions) in the 1992-93 season! Meanwhile, my employment continued in the Brewing Industry where I was promoted to Regional Sales Manager at Brains Brewery – further promotions led me to Heineken, where I worked from 2008-2018 as National Account Manager.

After my rugby career was curtailed due to a serious knee injury, I developed myself as a coach at my local rugby club in Abercarn, and then followed up with appointments at Newbridge RFC and Crosskeys RFC, where I was Director of Rugby. My rugby career played a huge part in my life and the accolades I received along the way have great personal pride attached to them.

In 2018, the opportunity to leave Heineken and become Head of Commercial at Dragons Rugby arose, which enabled me to combine my two passions in life – rugby and business – in a region that I love. No two days are ever the same and Welsh Rugby can be a fast-paced, ever-changing environment!”

Working with Dragons Commercial Partner, Coleg Gwent

Now working as Head of Commercial at Dragons Rugby, Jonathan is back in close contact with his former college once again, strengthening links between sport and education in the local area. As one of Wales’ top performing colleges, we’re proud to be a Dragons Commercial Partner and home to the Dragons Junior Rugby Academy. Our college has been renowned for sports education since Jonathan attended in 1987, and we offer a fantastic provision of sports courses in South East Wales, from Personal Training, to BTEC in Sport, to a Foundation Degree in Coaching and Development.

Combining sport with education, our facilities allow learners to enjoy sport as a hobby or as a route into a successful sporting career like Jonathan. With fully equipped sports halls, gyms, fitness suites, outdoor pitches and sports academies, taking part in sport has never been easier! The Dragons Junior Rugby Academy at Crosskeys Campus even enables learners to combine their training with their studies, nurturing new rugby talent and opening opportunities to enter the world of professional rugby.

Jonathan’s successful career in sport began with his BTEC at Crosskeys Campus, which gave him the foundations for his working life. Many talented and ambitious young sports stars have followed in his footsteps, including Dragons and Welsh International players Elliot Dee, Ollie Griffiths and Tyler Morgan. So, whatever your goals may be, take your first steps at Coleg Gwent and apply now to make it your pathway to success like Jonathan!

Join our next open event to see the facilities for yourself, learn more about the courses on offer at your local campus and meet the tutors.