Hi, yeah the course was great, I really enjoyed it.
In the end it was confirmed that all I needed to take with me was some outdoor kit (so tshirt, shorts and trainers were fine), and a whistle if I had one (they did have spares if not).
Each attendee got a PDF copy of the SRU Level 1 handbook, a physical copy of the 2018 law book and a Crabbie's freebie (under 18's got a tshirt, whereas the adults got a tote bag with 2 bottles of Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger beer, a key ring and a bottle opener - apparently Crabbie's are the SRU referees sponsor and were keen to support the event).
As expected the course content was a mix of classroom learning, and practical sessions out on the back pitches (it was a gloriously sunny day, so I came home looking a bit like a lobster - us Scots are not used to the big burny ball of gas in the sky). The practical sessions were games of touch, with us taking turns to ref while we covered different topics/concepts and worked on positioning / communication /whistle tone. These sessions also highlighted to me the level of fitness needed to keep up with play, so I'm now working on that along with continued study of the laws, etc.
At the end of the day we had our exam, which was really more of a validation questionnaire as it was open book, and we were allowed to talk to the instructors and the other attendees.
The guys leading the course were very knowledgable, and presented the content well. In addition to the instructors, we also had a couple of chats from the head of referees for the SRU (who repeatedly thanked us for being there and asked us to bring our friends next time), the referee development manager and even one of the top level Scottish refs (Mike Adamson) came in for a bit and gave us his view of a couple of things - this only happened (I assume) as the course was part of a wider SRU referees development weekend.
But yeah overall a great experience, and very helpful. I also managed to get introduced to the president of the local referees society (Midlands), and have been invited along next month to their preseason conference.
My top tip is to join your local rugby club, if you haven’t already, and hunt out one of the existing club referees. They will all be delighted to help you. Also referee as many games at different levels that you can. mini and midi are great places to start and so long as you are consistent throughout the game and appear confident you will be fine.
Since the course I have reached out to my local club (Dunfermline) about joining as a club referee, and am waiting for further info, but they seemed interested and asked if I'd also be interesting in doing some touch judging.