A few weeks ago, the Marsa rugby pitch saw the Sliema Stompers defeat the Overseas rugby team, in order to win the MeDirect Group Cup. The victory was doubly significant for Aidan M Micallef, one of MeDirect’s employees who also plays as a second row with the Sliema Stompers.
His passion for rugby started out when he was still a student at the University of Malta, some four years ago. By chance, a few of his friends convinced him to attend a training session. “I was hooked from day one, and have only missed training due to travels,” he remarked.
Since rugby requires a great deal of physical endurance, players must undergo intensive preparation. Between matches, training sessions and gym workouts, Aidan estimates that rugby takes up around 15 hours of his week. Understandably, this has helped him forge close bonds with his team-mates.
Aidan first began working with the Bank in 2013, when he interned with the back-office of MeDirect’s branch in Paola. Once he graduated, “MeDirect was one of the first places that came to mind, due to the positive experience I had working there.” He then applied for a vacancy for a Quantitative Analyst, and joined MeDirect as a full-time employee, in 2016.
Striking a balance between work and sports is something that Aidan deals with on a regular basis. However, he considers himself lucky to be working in a flexible environment that allows him to manage his time efficiently.
“Sometimes, my schedule starts off with an early gym session, followed by a regular workday, and then rugby training in the evening. It can be pretty hectic and tiring, but exercise provides a great outlet to let off some steam. Having something to look forward to after work makes for a great incentive, so sports and work definitely complement each other.”
MeDirect has been sponsoring the national rugby team for the last four years. This sponsorship was spearheaded by Mark A. Watson, MeDirect’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, who is himself very passionate about this sport.
MeDirect is committed to its corporate social responsibility programme and currently supports the local Rugby cup and the national team, as well as other cultural entities (including Teatru Manoel, Heritage Malta and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.)
Lorraine Bonello Ghio, MeDirect’s Group Head of HR and Administration commented that “although these organisations are aided by the government, it’s never enough.” She emphasized the importance of culture in Maltese society, and considers it a duty for large companies to promote and support cultural entities. Aidan added that this support “is crucial to ensure the continuous growth of such organisations, in line with the Bank’s own growth.”
When talking about the team’s victory this season, Aidan highlighted the fact that “all the players worked hard to win all the major honours, and in the end, we won the league and the MeDirect Group cup, so we were very satisfied. Training and playing week-in week-out takes a great amount of commitment and sacrifice, but lifting the trophy in front of our families and supporters was worth every effort.”