From Trainee to Director

From Trainee to Director

From Trainee to Director

In a remarkable testament to the power of vocational training and personal determination, former AFL SportsReady trainee, Tim Arnold, has ascended to the pinnacle of success by establishing his own company. Tim’s journey began over a decade ago when his friend and former Geelong and Melbourne AFL player, Shannon Burns, introduced him to the program. Encouraged by Shannon’s glowing recommendation, Tim embarked on a traineeship at Goulburn Valley Grammar School in Shepparton, which set him on a transformative path.

Today, armed with the invaluable experiences and skills gained during his traineeship, Tim spearheads a flourishing enterprise alongside his business partner, James Dickinson. As the co-founder of Free Agency, an esteemed education and recruitment agency employing over 200 casual teachers, Tim reflects on how his AFL SportsReady traineeship acted as a catalyst for his incredible journey and instrumental in shaping his entrepreneurial success.

Thanks to AFL SportsReady former trainee Tim Arnold has reached the pinnacle of success after starting his own company.

Tim began his AFL SportsReady journey twelve years ago after his friend, former Geelong and Melbourne AFL player Shannon Burns recommended the program.

“Shannon did a traineeship himself and told me that I had to do it. He said it would benefit me in every way possible and that I would be mad not give it a go.” laughed Tim.

With Shannon’s advice, Tim applied for a position at Goulburn Valley Grammar School in Shepparton – as a Physical Education Assistant, after finishing high school.

“I got the job and went straight to work. The traineeship had me doing everything from helping to run outdoor education and PE classes, to going overseas and on interstate camps and sporting trips. It was unbelievable and I embraced every minute of it.” he added.

After graduating from his traineeship Tim was inspired to become a qualified outdoor education teacher and applied to study at La Trobe University.

“I was reinvigorated, motivated and ready to start my career in the industry and it was all thanks to my traineeship. It gave me a push in the right direction and lead me on my successful career journey.”

Tim went on to work as a teacher for over ten years in primary school, VCE and after school programs. Before creating his own venture with his friend and business partner James Dickinson.

“Our company is called Free Agency, an education and recruitment agency employing over 200 casual teachers. We also provide mentoring as well as work opportunities,” explained Tim.

“The traineeship changed my life. It gave me the confidence I needed to go to uni and the skills and knowledge I learnt during my traineeship. I still apply to my work today.”

“I can honestly say if it wasn’t for AFL SportsReady, I wouldn’t be directing a multi-million dollar company.”

Tim Arnold’s journey exemplifies the remarkable transformation that can arise from seizing opportunities and harnessing the support of programs like AFL SportsReady. Through dedication, determination, and the invaluable experiences gained, Tim has risen to the pinnacle of success. Carving his own path as an entrepreneur and leaving an indelible mark on the education and recruitment landscape.


Traineeships are paid, employment and education training programs that give you a nationally recognised qualification. They are usually full-time, but can also be part-time or school-based. If you’d like to find out more and a place to submit an expression of interest at this link.

View current Traineeship availability and apply at the Jobs Board.
If you never want to miss new opportunities make sure you subscribe for new Job Alerts

Or follow us

IMAGE: Tim Arnold