AFL Players reach Next Goal
On thursday morning at the MCG AFL SportsReady and the AFL Players’ Association held an industry breakfast to promote the extensive range of career and personal development programs.
The Next Goal breakfast celebrates the achievements of past and present participants of the programs, which are run jointly by the AFL Players’ Association and AFL SportsReady to assist their transition and prepare for life after football.
Working in partnership with employers around the country to ensure young Australians can access quality education and job opportunities, AFL SportsReady is a national, independent not-for-profit employment and education company that is passionate about helping young Australians achieve their dream career opportunities.
“An AFL career has the potential to set players up for life but post-football opportunities don’t just materialise overnight – it is important foundations are set early in playing careers and the AFL SportsReady programs are key to providing that direction,” AFL Players’ Association General Manager of Player Development, Brett Johnson said.
“The partnership between the AFL Players’ Association and AFL SportsReady is a powerful one and allows us to be able to offer players a suite of programs to explore what they would like to do post football and then put the things in place to get those goals,” he said.
Two of the AFL’s young guns, Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli and Essendon’s Dyson Heppell have both participated in AFL SportsReady’s suite of Next Goal programs.
Bontempelli, who took out the AFL Players’ Association’s 2014 Best First Year Player, was a participant in last year’s Football Induction Program, completing a Certificate III in Sport (Career Oriented Participation). The program saw 88 players undertake a comprehensive training course, equipping them with the skills to cope with the demands of AFL football and to help plan their off-field development focus.
Heppell, Essendon’s 2014 Best and Fairest winner, has also been a part of AFL SportReady’s Next Goal AFL Player Education Pathway since being drafted. In 2011, he took part in the Football Induction Program and has since gone on to complete a Certificate IV in Sport Development and a Dual Diploma made up of a Diploma in Sport Development and Diploma in Management. This avenue also provides Heppell with direct entry and credit into La Trobe University, one of AFL SportsReady’s national university partners.
AFL SportsReady CEO James Montgomery said the Next Goal suite of programs was a central part of the partnership between AFL SportsReady and the AFL Players’ Association, which aimed to support elite level players at the beginning, throughout and at the end of their playing careers.
“Each year we expand our options and we are really pleased with the increasing number of players who take up these opportunities,” Mr Montgomery said.
“With the average age of retired or delisted players being 25 and a half years, the importance of maximising their time in the game has never been greater and we are proud of the partnership we have with the AFL Players Association.”