Like so many of our colleagues, Caitlin Beevers’ hobby is more than just what she does in her free time – it’s an obsession. By working day, she is a filling administrator at our Birstall site in the UK. But every minute she’s not controlling the filling of paint containers, she’s working hard on the rugby pitch with Women’s Super League champions Leeds Rhinos and as a member of England’s World Cup women’s rugby league team!
“I Didn’t Expect to Go as Far as I Have”
Caitlin first discovered her passion for rugby when she was 6 years old. Her parents were keen to get both her and her twin brother into sport, so one evening they suggested he take up rugby league. Caitlin replied, “What about me?”.
There were no girls’ teams at Birstall Victoria, so she played with the boys until the age of 11 when she was meant to join a girls’ team. But there still weren’t any therefore, she took up refereeing. In 2018, she became the first woman to referee a rugby league game at Wembley!
I didn’t expect to go as far as I have. Refereeing massively contributes to my playing, as I know what I can do in the spirit of gamesmanship and all the little rules that most people don’t.
No Rest for the Talented
Before she joined us in 2020, Caitlin hadn’t realized that our JOHNSTONE’S™ brand by PPG is a sponsor of her team, the Leeds Rhinos, for which she plays full back.
This is my fourth season at Leeds, and I love every minute of it!
She also plays for England’s rugby league team, which won the 2022 European Rugby Champions Cup and is heading to the biggest Rugby League World Cup ever staged by the sport. The BBC will be broadcasting all 61 games across the women’s, men’s and wheelchair tournaments for the first time. Interest in and support of women’s sport have erupted across the country following the success of the England women's national football team winning the UEFA EURO 2022 title for the first time in July 2022.
Caitlin says playing for England is very different than playing for Leeds. Whereas the Rhinos train two or three days a week, the England national team only meets once a week.
You play with a group of players you do not usually play with and have to get used to the way they play and the little attributes they offer to the team.
The Key to Her Success
While rugby is traditionally considered a “male” sport, Caitlin urges anyone interested to try it!
Fourteen years later, I’m still playing and enjoying it as much as I did when I first started.
She cites her parents’ dedication as being the key to her success at such a young age. With training starting at seven in the morning on Saturdays, her parents would get up at five thirty to make her breakfast and then drive her to the pitch. They would stick around for the full six-hour session to watch.
I don’t think my parents have ever missed a game of mine. I really appreciate their dedication to helping me get to the point I am at today.
Her family is super supportive of her lifestyle. In fact, her twin brother Josh, who also works on the filling lines in Birstall, will cancel his own plans to watch her matches.
He's my biggest fan, but also my worst critic. I'll come off the pitch, and he'll criticize my game. Then he’ll say I did alright.
Our company is also a fan, providing Caitlin with full pay for the four weeks she’s participating in the Rugby League World Cup.
Finding the Work-Rugby-Life Balance
Caitlin brings her hard work, determination and bubbly personality to work with her and says the skills she has learned on the pitch cross over to the workplace well. One of these “transferable skills” is the smooth way she passes work to each unit just as she would pass the ball during a match. It’s all about coordination and making sure things run smoothly.
Rugby looks fantastic on a CV in terms of leadership, discipline and being able to work as a team. Refereeing shows I can make quick decisions under pressure, am fair and know how to get the best out of people.
She feels very fortunate that her colleagues are so willing to let her alter her hours to accommodate her training. But in terms of having a life outside of training and work
she is pretty restricted with time. To manage to do things she likes, it requires a lot of planning.
Though she hasn’t been with us long, she enjoys her job because every day is different and “you’re always busy, so the days go quick.” Caitlin is particularly proud of how employee-friendly and diverse our company is and loves that she spends time with people she wouldn’t necessarily find herself with outside of work.
Working for PPG is a big deal for me as it’s a big, successful company. I hope to climb up the ladder.