Cadetships Give Uni Students a Head Start
Thanks to AFL SportsReady’s Cadetships program, proud Wiradjuri Man, Ben Cooper, gets to work at St Kilda Football Club. While he completes his Sports Management degree at La Trobe University. Giving him a massive head start for his future in sports.
“I thought the cadetship would really benefit my Uni course. Also, to know that I would be working in a sporting environment and getting my foot in the door into this industry was really appealing to me,” said Ben, 19.
The cadetship program aims to support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people studying at University full-time. Cadets get to work in an industry that relates to their field of study for 12 weeks per year, up to three years. The program offers opportunities across many different businesses/industries. These industries include law, engineering, sport, arts, business and more.
“There are so many benefits in taking on a cadetship.But, I guess the main one for me is the fact it will help me get a head start for my future in sports.
I get to study Sports Management at La Trobe Uni and at the same time work two days a week in a sporting club.
So, after I finish Uni, not only will I have a degree on my resume. I will also have experience in sports and that will surely get me ahead of the game,” Ben added.
Ben started his cadetship in July 2019, taking on the role of Indigenous Programs Officer at St Kilda Football Club.
“The club works around my Uni timetable and they are really flexible when I have assignments.
Working at an AFL Football Club is even better than I imagined. The people I work with are supportive and great company and the facilities and offices here at St Kilda Football Club are just awesome.
I love coming to work and there has not been a day when I don’t want to be there, I always want to be there.”
In his role as Indigenous Programs Officer, Ben gets to work across the whole organisation and support the different departments at the club. He also gets to manage the kids programs which he says is one of the best bits about his job
“I run programs for kids who don’t know much about footy so I teach them all about the game. Seeing their face light up when they kick a ball for the first is an absolute highlight for me.
There is just so much opportunity at a football club and in the sporting industry but it’s also really hard to get a foot in the door. It’s programs like this one that help young people get a chance to break in and make a start.”
Throughout their journey, cadets have an AFL SportsReady Aboriginal Mentor to be there for them every step of the way.
Ben’s Mentor, AFL SportsReady’s Aboriginal Community Engagement officer, Tony Armstrong, is a firm believer that the program provides the perfect balance of support for the cadets.
“The program aims to ensure cadets are thriving in their University studies and their practical work experience. We want them to get the absolute most of this once in a lifetime opportunity and feel supported through the whole way,” said Tony.
“Cadetships are helping to build the next generation of young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander leaders and it’s really exciting to be a part of it all,” he added.
Ben will complete his cadetship at the end of the year and hopes to continue his work at St Kilda Football Club while pursuing his degree.
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