AFL Trainees Take Home Awards at Recent Graduation Ceremony
This year, two inspiring AFL industry trainees received awards acknowledging their exceptional commitment and abilities in their traineeship. AFL NSW/ACT trainee Josh Holland took out the 2022 AFL SportsReady Trainee of the Year Award for New South Wales and proud Palawa man, Trey Thomas, who completed his traineeship at AFL Tasmania, won the 2022 First Nations Trainee of the Year Award for Tasmania.
Both young men have described their traineeship experience as some of the best moments of their life and having worked in the AFL industry, they know this is where they want to be.
We sat down with the boys to talk all things traineeships and what winning this award means to them.
Josh Holland said, “I didn’t know what the right pathway for me was after finishing high school,”
“I didn’t want to go to uni or get a trade, I wanted to start my career differently. So, I saw the traineeship at AFL NSW/ACT, and I thought this was the path I wanted to go down. I am so glad I chose this avenue because I could not be more grateful for the opportunities it has given me,” he added.
Josh took on his first traineeship with AFL NSW/ACT in 2019 and studied a Cert III in Sport and Recreation and this year he is completing his second traineeship, a Diploma in Sport Management.
“I have had two roles, first in Game Development and now Community Development and honestly every second of my experience with AFL NSW/ACT has been nothing short of incredible. I get to help run programs and clinics and really spread awareness about grass roots football.
“A highlight of my traineeship has been the networks I made and the connections I continue to make. I made more friends in my first traineeship than I did in my high school years. Once you leave school you grow as a person, you are not in a little bubble anymore you are out in the big wide world and so every person who I meet in my traineeship has made a significant impact in my life and shaped me into the man I am today.
Plus, I have the most supportive and amazing team ever.”
Josh’s supervisor, Tyler Hollingworth couldn’t speak more highly of Josh and his positive contribution in his role.
“Josh is one the hardest working people I have ever worked with. If you ask Josh to start work at 8am he will be there at 7:30am without fail. Josh has a great work ethic and is always willing to go above and beyond the duties within his role.
Josh was so honoured to win the award describing the moment as “surreal” and a huge pump up for all the work he has done.
For Tassies First Nations Trainee Award Winner, Trey Thomas, winning this award meant so much to him after the challenges he faced during his traineeship.
“Winning this really meant a lot to me. I had a pretty tough year health wise as I found out I had a non-cancerous brain tumour which had to be removed through complicated surgery. I was just happy to complete the traineeship but to win this award was truly something special. My hard work paid off and it felt great,” said Trey, 20.
Trey began his traineeship at AFL Tasmania as Game Development Officer then transferred to AFL Victoria where he worked in the same role.
“My traineeship was everything I wanted and more. I got to run clinics, help kids with hand balling and kicking footballs, I got to help organise activities and I even got to spend time with the North Melbourne Football club which was a real highlight for me.”
Being a big supporter of the game, Trey knew this traineeship was the perfect opportunity for him.
“I applied because I was interested in studying a Cert III in Sport plus, I would get to work in the AFL industry full-time while earning an income. It was just an exciting chance that was right in front me to get a career in something I love most.
“The traineeship got better every single day as it went on. I met so many people, so many doors opened for me in the industry. It was just this big step into the AFL world, and I just could not get over how lucky I felt.”
Something that really stands out for Trey is the support he received throughout his traineeship.
“The people I was surrounded with were just remarkable. From my Field Officers and Educators, Matt Thom and Tracey Parry to my Mentor Ralph White and of course the people at AFL Tamanias and AFL Victoria who inspired me every day especially Aaron Roberts, my supervisor. I was surrounded by the best.”
Trey’s supervisor Aaron also had something to say about Trey’s time as a trainee.
“Over the two years Trey would’ve delivered more than 800 hrs of programs to children and young people. He was able to adapt and evolve his delivery style during his traineeship to the extent that he was a leader among the other AFL Trainees including mentoring new staff. During the challenging time Trey had with the brain tumour he showed resilience and commitment to stay connected to his work along with a great deal of grit, he made us all proud!”
Trey is currently working at AFL Victoria on a casual basis and hopes to continue to pursue a career in the AFL just like Josh.
Well done and congratulations to these outstanding graduates.
Date: 17 of May 2022
Author: Marissa Pagliarello
Image Josh Holland and his supervisors