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It is easy to see why Darryl George is a success. After starring for the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball League, the charismatic power hitter has been recently signed to Japan’s Niigata Albirex Baseball Club.
Darryl is one of many former AFL SportsReady students who have transitioned into La Trobe University after receiving direct entry and course credits, thanks to our university partnership program.
This is his story.
DARRYL GEORGE, AFL SPORTSREADY STUDENT: I was about ten years old when I decided I wanted to play baseball professionally. I knew the path I wanted to take was baseball, so I probably neglected my education for the first couple of years. But Justin Huber, one of the players with the Melbourne Aces at the time, said “we’ve been talking to AFL SportsReady and we are thinking about partnering up with them.”
MATT SCHOLES, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, AFL SPORTSREADY: We didn’t want people going to the major leagues, even if they make it, they are not going to be millionaires unless they are one of the top 10 percent. So they are going to come back to Australia with no qualifications and they are thirty years old. We wanted to solve that so we designed our courses to work with their programs.
LISA HASKER, MANAGER, LA TROBE UNIVERSITY SPORT: The partnership in essence is what we call an articulation agreement, so it allows students to articulate from one institution to another. So in this case it is AFL SportsReady to La Trobe.
DARRYL: Kids don’t realise too that you are up against, the competition is stiff and for me it was really easy because being in the Victorian Institute of Sport, they already have a relationship with people like Lisa.
MATT: So we try to tailor our program to the needs of the organisation, so be look at how we can suit the student’s needs, we never dilute the quality of the education, but you can deliver it in different ways. We always have an end game of making sure the student, not only gets a qualification, but also learns.
DARRYL: I think having that direct link between sport and university for me was a great fit. I love learning and so once I realised that and understood that and embraced that, it’s made things just so much easier for me.
LISA: It works really well. We have 90 elite athletes like Darryl doing bits and pieces of courses when they can, whatever their sport allows. So part of my role is to help them juggle the sport and the study.
MATT: There might be 200 people graduating a particular course all going for similar jobs. Our students are going to have two extra qualifications, two extra years of work experience, they will probably already have networks from that work experience, so they have their contacts, extra qualifications and they understand work and they have work experience.
LISA: They have a lot more insights than a year 12 leaver and they are ready to get into the program and make the most of what happens at university level. We are finding that they are transitioning really really well because they have done the AFL SportsReady Diploma beforehand.
DARRYL: I think just take your time. Figure out what it is what you want to do. A lot of kids get pressured into choosing one specific degree straight out of high school and for me I didn’t go to university for like another four or five years and I wouldn’t change a thing because I am doing what I want to do now, I know what it is I want to do and so now when I am actually in a classroom I am applying myself because I am actually enjoying the topic. You hear people say “I hate university, I hate school” and stuff like that, but realistically, are you doing what you want to do. I think that is the most important thing.
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