Grad season caps off with a bang!

Grad season caps off with a bang!

Grad season caps off with a bang!

AFL SportsReady’s National Graduation season has drawn to a triumphant end as Victoria put the icing on the cake with their event on Friday night.

Over the past three months, we have seen more than 450 trainees take to the stage as they celebrate their personal achievement.

The graduation season kicked off in Tasmania early this year in February, followed by Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and finally Victoria.

Each year we award our exceptional trainees with a series of accolades including the 2017 Trainee of the Year Award, The School-Based Trainee of the Year Award and The 2017 Hostplus Rising Star Award. Queensland also offered the Chris Johnson Cup AFL Cape York Award, which is given to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander trainee, aged between 16-30 years of age, who has excelled in the workplace and demonstrated incredible initiative and leadership qualities

“The grads give us, the trainees, and all the staff and host employers involved a real sense of accomplishment. It’s a time for us to reap in the rewards of our hard work and be truly proud of ourselves for reaching the finishing line,” said ArtsReady trainee and Victorian HostPlus Rising Star Award winner, Demi Hockaday.

The graduation ceremonies also serve as an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the supportive host employers and partners, who provide young people with a platform to kick-start their future and are committed to seeing them achieve their dreams.

Congratulations to the class of 2017.

To view photos from all the graduations please visit our Facebook album page here:



Class of 2017 Winners:


  • Kaitlin Hawkins (St Paul’s Catholic College) – Trainee of the year
  • Hadi Reazai (AFL Tasmania ) – Hostplus Rising Star



  • Jake O’Halloran (AFL Queensland) –Trainee of the Year
  • Crystal Griffin (Australia Post Shop Gympie) –School-based Trainee of the Year
  • Travis Young (Department of Sport and Recreation) – HostPlus Rising Star
  • Alex Getawan (CBA Logan Central) – Chris Johnson Cup AFL Cape York Award



  • Thomas Baily (Adelaide Shores) – MAS National Trainee of the year
  • James Doudle (St Josephs School) – HostPlus Rising Star
  • Tenay Ward (ANZ) – Department of State Development, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainee of the year
  • Lucia Blackgrough ArtsReady trainee (Unley Council) – School-Based Trainee of the year



  • Cody Johnson ArtsReady trainee (Museum Applied Arts and Science) – ACT Trainee of the Year
  • Tim Hourigan (AFL NSW/ACT – Canberra) – ACT HostPlus Trainee of the Year
  • Stephanie Taylor (AFL Geelong Football Club) – NSW Trainee of the Year
  • Olivia Turner ArtsReady trainee (City Recital Hall) – NSW HostPlus Trainee of the year
  • Olivia Flaxman-Grimm (ANZ Minto) and Aimee Henry (AUSTSWIM) – School-Based Trainees of the Year



  • Dylan Cooper (Pinjarra Senior High School) – Trainee of the year
  • Shaquille Morton (Churchlands Senior High School) – Indigenous Trainee of the year
  • Samantha Lowe (Corpus Christi College)- HostPlus Rising Star
  • Shahni Gilbert ArtsReady trainee (Vancouver Arts Centre) – School-Based Trainee of the Year


  • Nikita Gray (NAB head office) –Trainee of the Year
  • Demi Hockaday ArtsReady trainee (Catholic Regional College) –HostPlus Rising Star
  • Andrew Gillam (Australia Post Albury) – School-Based trainee of the year


If you are an AFL SportsReady or ArtsReady alumni stay in touch with us through our LinkedIn alumni page:

DATE: 8th of May 2018

AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello
IMAGE: AFL SportsReady CEO James Montgomery with School-based trainee of the year Andrew Gillam and Regional VIC Field Officer Michael Caruso.